The Help review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
The film that earned Octavia Spencer an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress The Help tells the story of an aspiring author who is inspired to publish the stories of black maids working in the American South during the 1950’s.
With a wealth of hugely impressive performances including that of Oscar nominee Viola Davis and a surprisingly impressive portrayal from Emma Stone as writer Skeeter, The Help was a pleasant surprise in many ways. Spencer’s Oscar is hugely well deserved, as her sparky character steals all the attention when on screen, whilst Davis’ portrayal of the patient but hopeful Aibileen is moving and courageous. The turn around from Zombieland’s Emma Stone leaves her almost unrecognisable as the opinionated white author determined to tell a story she cares about.
The movie begins precisely as one would expect it to and quite quickly I had the piece defined as simpering and unimaginative; another rather poor telling of the struggle for civil rights in the US in the fifties and sixties. My mind was swiftly changed however when, without even seeming to notice, I was engulfed in the story, loving and hating characters with the passion and zeal that can only be brought about by excellent writing and incredible screen presence.
The final quarter of the movie takes another slightly unimaginative turn, as things begin to wind down; injustices are rectified and relationships reconciled, leaving this bravely real movie heading toward a typical and predictable Hollywood ending. I encourage you to stay in your seats however, as The Help will not disappoint you, even in it’s final moments, as it takes tragedy and reality and weaves them into this smart, incredibly well made and loveable movie.
Controversially I believe The Help deserved more acclaim that some of its Oscar winning counterparts.