Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

2012 Best Picture Prediction – ‘The Help’

Starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone & Bryce Dallas Howard

Rating 10/10

Have you read the book, seen the film? You must. This is a keeper. Meaning when it comes on DVD I will be lining up to buy a copy. This is a story about the underdog. We love a good underdog story and although it isn’t based on a true story, it could have been.

Aibileen Clark (Davis) is an African American maid in Jackson Mississippi. She’s been a maid since she was fourteen. She lives in the middle of a simmering pot of racism and resentment. Her best friend is the irrepressible Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) who has bounced from job to job due to her loose tongue and her sassy ways.

When white Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan (Stone) returns from college, she finds herself writing a housekeeping column for the local paper. As she has no idea about housekeeping she asks Aibileen, her friend’s maid, to advise her. One thing leads to another and Skeeter realises that things are not well in Jackson. She begins to see her friends as they truly are, racists, especially one of her good friends, Hilly Holbrook (Howard), who is the queen bee of racists in Jackson.

In response to the injustices she witnesses Skeeter decides to interview a dozen maids and write their stories. Sounds simple enough but this is the early sixties and this is the South. Despite real danger to all involved, the book goes ahead and there are consequences. Some are amusing, some are not.

This is a beautiful film based on an equally beautiful novel. It is all about the power of story and the freedom that gives when someone is willing to listen. This relatively unknown group of actors are powerful. Davis carries a nobility with her depiction of Aibileen which is true to the novel. Spencer is a sassy and funny Minny and Howard is sensationally bitchy as the horrible Hilly.

Jessica Chastain was a little over the top as the unfortunate Celia but loveable at the same time. I’m yet to make up my mind about her. Overall you’ve got to love this story. It has heart, humour and truth. To me this looks like an Oscar winner.

The Help Trivia:

  • $25,000,000
  • To gain weight for her role as Celia Foot, Chastain had to eat soy ice cream that she had melted in the microwave (she’s a vegan).
  • The bookstore is named after a production assistant on the film, Avent Clark  – does that count as 15 minutes of fame?
  • The novel by Kathryn Stockett was her first! But it was rejected 60 times before it was picked up, published and made into a movie. Huge kudos to Stockett for persisting! Awesome job.
Have you seen ‘The Help’? Do you think it deserves the Oscar for Best Picture?
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