I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Monday, February 06, 2012

The Help (2011)

I resisted seeing this movie for a long time.  Wasn't really interested in seeing yet another story about mistreated Black folks in the South, during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement, who are saved and/or aided by a sympathetic white person.  But then this movie and two of its actresses were nominated for Academy Awards.  "I guess I'll go see it so I'm informed on Oscar night," I thought to myself. The performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were good, as well as that of most of the other players such as Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Brice Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, and a woman whom I consider a queen, Cicely Tyson. 

Based on the popular book of the same name, the plot concerns college-graduate Skeeter (Stone) who is inspired by the abrupt absence of the maid who practically raised her, and the third class citizenship of the maids who work for her friends to write a tell-all book from the maids' point of view.  It's tough going because the maids don't want to speak out.  They could lose more than just their jobs in early 1960's Mississippi.  It is also a story about Skeeter's independence and different way of thinking that sets her apart from her Southern belle friends, who are happy with the "separate but equal" situation of the times.

Yes, the movie is good, but not great.  The character of Hilly (played by Ron Howard's daughter Brice) is at times like a female Simon Legree, sneering and gloating over how she treats her maid, Minnie (Spencer).  She's the typical example of racism-served-with-Southern-hospitality, which we've seen in similar films before this one.  You know that some characters will be redeemed, some will become strong, and still others will continue on in who they are before the film is over. 

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