‘The Help’: A Solid Award Winning Period Adaptation


Is there anyone who has not heard of this movie in the weeks leading up to its release? When my dad takes his annual work-related trip, my mom and I always enjoy something fun, just the two of us. This year in addition to some shopping we went and saw this highly-acclaimed movie, and were most definitely not disappointed by the experience. Though anyone who wanted to see The Help likely has, nevertheless, I thought I’d write up our thoughts.

The Help (2011) Film Review

The tight-knit group of neighbors in Jackson Mississippi has codes and unspoken rules by which they live. If those are broken, the women who uphold them aren’t afraid to use cruel tactics in order to “correct” their fellow society woman. Not only this, but they aren’t shy about doing so to the women who run their households and raise their children. Wealthy and with an attitude that she knows everything there is to know and is right all the time, Hilly Holbrock (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the biggest offender of such behavior. She is so prejudiced she finds it offensive that her neighbor Elizabeth Leefolt (Ahna O’ Rielly) won’t install separate bathroom facilities for her maid Aibileen (Viola Davis). Also in Hilly’s circle is the rebel of the bunch Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone).  

In the early 1960’s women marry and start having babies. But Skeeter isn’t like the others. Skeeter endures being called ugly but now as a college graduate, she plans to make a mark in the world. Meanwhile, recent to Jackson is Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), a woman who causes quite the stir in the otherwise prim and proper circles. Though married to one of Jackson’s wealthiest sons, no one accepts her. After a series of mishaps, Hilly’s opinionated maid Minny (Octavia Spencer) is fired and winds up being the only woman willing to word for Miss Celia. It’s these events that inspire Skeeter and how the world views human life.  

I’m just going to delve right in and share my initial reaction to this without making you guess my eventual opinion. The Help is an inspiring film. Not perhaps ‘inspiring’ like Amazing Grace but, trust me, it’s good. There’s just something about the movie really tugs at your heartstrings. The cast is nearly all female – spanning from various different walks in life and age so that probably plays a vital part in it being so relatable to such a wide female audience.  

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It might seem strange (not so much now today) to us now to think that anyone would be persecuted for speaking candidly. The second thing that amazes me is how parents treat their children. They’re a nuisance, and the only reason for their existence is it’s what society says. Though I tried, I did only manage a few pages of the novel before seeing the movie but just in those few, the movie does seem to do the book justice. This is, of course, based on the best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett.  

For those of us that enjoy strong protagonists, this movie has plenty of them. Its script brings us multiple courageous strong-willed characters, and that’s reason enough to enjoy The Help. Furthermore, there’s lots of scenes that will certainly bring you to tear. And I say this as someone who’s not an emotional viewer in the sense that I cry. That said, I did lose it when Aibileen must say good-bye to the only person who relies on and loves her. In addition to this scene I love the interaction between Celia, her husband and Minny. Perhaps the ONLY family who treats their “help” with respect. The cast is also phenomenal! Emma is adorable (I love her Skeeter); Viola turns in an emotional performance; Octavia is hilarious (as usual); and Bryce, well, she makes an excellent villainess.

The one flaw might be that this runs overlong, but nevertheless it’s a special movie with very special characters – and that is what makes The Help special.  

Content: there is discussion about miscarriages and one woman is on her bathroom floor in a pool of blood. Elsewhere, implications suggest a man beats his wife; another person is said to have been shot. There is some social drinking and a few swear words. Plus, a couple of crude jokes: one of which you just cannot help but laugh at. The Help is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. I was on vacation this whole last week so I just wanted to comment and say I LOVE your blog! The past posts have really been great to read through…I cannot wait to see The Help, your piece on Beastly was very well done, 27 Dresses looks adorable!!, and your sister post made me smile as I have not one–but 2 younger sisters. The first only two years younger than me…and we are total. opposites. ;)

  2. I hope you had a wonderful vacation, Meghan!

    "Beastly" is a great story, and Ella and Ruth (thanks ladies!) totally talked me into buying the book, so I now have that to read in my already mile-high stack of novels. "27 Dresses" IS adorable! I hope you see it sometime (and let us know what YOU thought of it). The "Oh Sister!" post was a lot of fun for me to write. And then "The Help" – it was great too. My mother and I both found it thought-provoking and very well-done. Enjoy, whenever you see it… and don't forget to share your thoughts about it with us all!

    Thank you so much for the kind thoughts! It is always encouraging to hear them. =) Now you are back to posting, I am going to LOVE reading your blog, too. =D

  3. Rissi, I am adding you to my ever growing list of people raving about "The Help" to me. Honestly, I have lost track at how many times I have heard positive things about it.

    And it has been so nice–I haven't heard anything negative about it. If my Nana went to go see it (and trust me, she does NOT go see new movies =)) and loved it, I know I will too…problem is, it is only at my expensive theatre right now.

    But once I watch it, I will definitely let you know what I think of it. And you let me know what you think about Beastly–the book!

  4. "The Help" is truly a wonderful movie, Ella. I have read a few negative things about it, but unless one just doesn't want to see them, there are just so many beautiful scenes in the movie. My mom and I made it a "girls day" outing and both enjoyed it.

    Hope you can see it soon: I'll look forward to your take on it. =)

    "Beastly" – yes, you ladies convinced me. I found a PB at Target and it just… jumped into my hands. LOL! Anyway, whenever I get around to reading it (I read portions of three different books during my hour-long reading time last night!), I'll share my thoughts.

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