‘The Help’ Short Take

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Arriving at the tail-end of the summer season like a lantern of hope for adult moviegoers, Tate Taylor’s moving, funny and heartbreaking adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel The Help is one of those films that you just can’t help but fall in love with. Yes, it may be guilty of falling into saccharine and sometimes, even preachy territory, but it’s the magnificent performances from its brilliant cast that bolster it into a picture worth your time. Led by the immaculate Viola Davis, who will almost certainly score herself an Oscar nomination in January, this magnificent ensemble cast also features the likes of Octavia Spencer (another Oscar guarantee), Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard (terrific in a grossly unlikeable role), Allison Janney, and a hilarious Jessica Chastain. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement in the mid-1960s in the town of Jackson, Mississippi, the film details the story of a headstrong aspiring journalist named Skeeter (Stone) who sets out to chronicle the stories of the maids, Davis and Spencer among them, who help raise the white children in the households they work for. Though Davis’ character A is the only one who is willing to speak up at first, she is soon joined by Spencer and a host of others. Wonderfully scored, remarkably acted with strong direction and a thoughtful screenplay by Taylor, this is exactly the type of feel-good mainstream entertainment Hollywood needs to be making – even if it may not be as hard-hitting as it should be.

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