Film Review: The Help

The Help (2011)
starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer,
Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain

Watch the trailer for The Help


 (source: )


Before I saw this film, I've only seen the movie poster, a few of the cast seen in the movie poster, and the title. That's all I know. I didn't even see the trailer or preview clips (as I often does before seeing a film) or anything. I've never heard of the movie nor read the book until upon seeing this movie on its first opening weekend. I've heard great things about it though when it was released and I had to see it for myself as sometimes people can say it's really good, but it's not really until you see it for yourself. I'm very glad I did and even more glad I didn't know much or what the movie was all about. I didn't have any expectations other than to enjoy the film for what it was. It was really good. No, wait! It wasn't just good it was amazing!  Definitely a must-see and one of the few best films I've seen this year (thus far) that I didn't expect I'd loved and enjoyed watching so much. It was all that and more! A beautiful film that I didn't expect or saw coming, which is quite rare and comes only once (or twice) every year...when it comes out of nowhere and just surprises and amazes you at the same time of how awesome the film was and everyone was/is still (and can't stop) talking about it and how great it was after seeing it. This film was/is exactly IT! Everything was great about it and just entertained and moved me at the same time. The story was very well-written and adapted brilliantly on-screen (even though I've never read the book, which I'm gonna have to now after seeing this film).  There were plenty of humor to keep you entertain and drama to intrigue and keep you interested in watching it. It was just brilliant. It made me laugh, cry, sad, smile, laugh, cry, sad, smile, laugh...and so on from beginning to end. The ensemble cast were just outstanding and gave a strong and fantastic performances each from the main cast to the supporting cast whether they had a big role or small role. Everyone did an amazing job! Viola Davis gave a very moving and Oscar-worthy performance. She was brilliant and amazing in this film. She should definitely get an Oscar nomination on her leading role as Aibileen Clark. She gave a powerful and emotional performance in this film. She made me cry and also made me smile and laugh at the same time. Octavia Spencer, who played Minny Jackson (Aibileen's best friend and fellow maid/help worker) was simply amazing, fun, and hilarious in this film. She made me laughed so hard, but also made me sad in a few of her scenes, but mostly made me LOL a lot especially in the big reveal of her pie scene with the very mean and intimeditating Miss Hilly Holbrook played brilliantly by Bryce Dallas Howard. She plays this type of role/character so well. She was really convincing and makes you want to slap her every time she opens her mouth or something, lol. Not too mention, you cheer along with the other characters she victimized or she did wrong when she finally got what was coming to her, which she certainly deserves. And karma's a biatch when you do bad things to other people, it haunts and bites your right back when you less expected or didn't see it coming, lol. And it was fun to see her squirmed, scream, yell and gets what's coming to her, haha! The pie scene with her and Minny was hilarious, lmao! This scene was the funniest scene in the film. I can't help but laughed so hard. It was just clever and hilarious. I kept wondering what Minny was going to do with the pie (she was carrying) to Hilly when she stopped by to her house after she was let go and she apologized. I kept thinking what was she going to do with it? Was she going to slap her with it, throw it to her face, or poison her with it (etc.)? But, to my surprise, none of them occurred, lol. Instead something different and hilarious happened to Hilly and the pie incident that just cracked me up when I saw/found out about it and whenever I think of the scene. It was just so hilarious.

Emma Stone
as Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan was great in her part too. She was funny and just did wonderful in this film. Jessica Chastain (I hardly recognized her in this film, she was so great I didn't see her but the character she played!) who played the delightful Celia Foote was fun and endearing to watch. Her character was the opposite and a sharp contrast to antagonist characters like Miss Hilly and her posse that includes Elizabeth (though she was at times sympathetic, but she was not as likable as Celia was nor did I feel sorry for her as she was as bad as her BFF Hilly...I felt bad more for her neglected toddler daughter than I ever did for her). Also, Celia was the one (and probably the only one) white employer that Minny didn't expect she'd love and enjoy working for. They bonded and helped each other out esp. on tough times each had struggled personally (though in different situations, but both felt similar pain nonetheless in what each character had gone through...they were both humans, after all no matter what race or culture they live in...). The rest of the supporting cast such as vets like Sissy Spacek (she was so funny in this film) as the mother of the mean Miss Hilly, Alison Janey (she was great, funny, and made you cry at the same time as well) as Skeeter's mom, Mary Steenburgeen (even in her small role, she was still pretty good) as the publisher of Skeeter (as well as Aibileen/Minny and the rest of the "Anonymous" help contributors)'s book (which was also the title of this film), and Cicely Tyson (she was just simply amazing, moving, and inspiring in this film...finding out about her character's tragic demise was just so sad and heart-wrenching...) as Constantine, Skeeter's family's long-time maid and beloved nanny growing up...were all equally solid, strong, and outstanding in their performances. Even the lil' girl that Aibileen was taking care of did a great job herself and was just too cute for words. I loved and enjoyed watching everyone in this film. Tate Taylor, the director of this film did a superb job writing the screenplay and adapting it as well as directing his cast and bringing out strong performances from each of them, making this film just all-around amazing to watch. The period costumes were great too, the visual was stunning, the attention to that period detail of that time as does the inspirational song you'll hear when the end credits roll.

Overall, The Help is deeply moving, very sad yet inspiring, filled with humor and hope. It's a must-see, worth-watching, entertaining, and superb film with lots of strong performances by its outstanding ensemble (of mostly an all-female) cast! I highly recommend you see it if you haven't already done so! Don't miss out! Go see it!

My The Help Film Rating: ! (10/10; A+)

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