From laugh out loud funny, to heart wrenching tears, to every emotion in between, The Help was a movie I enjoyed watching from beginning to end; and wow, what a great way to share an afternoon with my mother and my niece.
The fashion, the hairstyles and the attitudes of the times were all wonderfully and authentically portrayed by a superb cast of women.
Edge of your seat tension mounted for me watching the young Skeeter who, in the midst of the racial tension of the civil rights movement, would dare document the trials, triumphs and tribulations of black maids, and the maids who would be so brave as to share. Each with a different frame of reference for the history that was being relived here, my mom, my niece, and I watched this story unfold beautifully on screen; things my mother knew about, things I had only heard about and things my young niece knew absolutely nothing about.
And what a cast: Sissy Spacek who I absolutely adore was hilarious as Hilly’s mother; Cicely Tyson as Skeeter’s maid just draws you in with eyes that have seen too much sadness; Minny’s new big-hearted boss, Jessica Chastain was a joy to watch; and my 40+ and Fabulous pick is the lovely Mary Steenburgen, who was cast as Skeeter’s New York publisher who encouraged her to capture these stories.
People Magazine said their dream cast for The Help would have been Claire Danes as Skeeter; Oprah Winfrey as Aibileen; Anne Hathaway as Hilly; and Mo’Nique as Minny. Having seen the movie – I can tell you it was perfectly cast with Emma Stone taking the female lead as Skeeter; Viola Davis who brought such depth of emotion to the role of Aibileen; Bryce Howard made you love to hate her as Hilly; and you have to love a movie who can take an actress you’ve barely seen before and make you sit up and take notice. Octavia Spencer as the sassy, outspoken, no nonsense Minnie was a nerve wrecking delight to watch. Nerve wrecking because you never knew how much trouble this woman was about to get herself into.
At the end of this movie I was grateful. Grateful for all the wonderful women in my life, women of different ethnicities, background and beliefs, who on the heels of such a tumultuous and painful era, I now get to have such rich and rewarding relationships with.
Oh, and what did my young niece have to say about the movie? She said, “It taught be a lot about how not to treat people.” And who can’t appreciate that?