I’d been hearing the raves about the book, The Help, for quite some time. The same went for the movie. And, I have finally seen the film and have to agree that it is a powerful story. (I suspect the book might be better, though.)
Now, this is not a film I let the younger boys watch. First off, they wouldn’t enjoy it much. Secondly, they just aren’t ready to have the discussions about the bigotry and racism that was standard at that time.
The short description of the film is this:
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
And, I’d say that covers the main theme of the film. However, even after seeing all of the trailers, I had this misconception that the writer (Skeeter) was someone who came to the area specifically to get the ‘true’ story about life as one of the ‘help.’ No, Skeeter isn’t an unknown individual. Rather, she is from the some society employing these women to be ‘help’ in their homes. Only, she is not married with children like some of her high school friends.
She forges a relationship with a few of the maids that had been in service for her friends. This happens while she is working for the Jackson newspaper writing a home keeping column. Knowing nothing about taking care of a house, she enlists the help of a friend’s maid to give her the real scoop/ solutions for the problems people give her. It is this initial contact along with her deep love for the maid that essentially raised her and has now ‘left that propels her to dig into what life is like for the women sometimes treated just one step above that of a slave.
Skeeter isn’t the only one that treats the women as the wonderful individuals God created. No. There’s one white woman who has been ostracized from ‘society’ that throws the character of Milly for a loop as she does not follow the ‘rules’ imposed by the rest of society. And, you just have to love her all the more for it.
This film provides a very interesting take on how their life might have been like during a time when civil rights are being demanded. I can easily see it being a great film for a high school student to view and then talk with a parent about the theme of civil rights. There are plenty of character development topics within the film. The tight knit ladies group essentially shuns one young lady who’s only ‘crime’ was to marry a local boy. I also saw ample example of how the ‘good Christian women’ employing the maids would act in very un-Christian ways towards them while projecting an image of superiority. And, you can see that pushing down upon others could result in their acting out in retaliation at some point, even if they do so in a sneaky manner.
I can definitely see why Octavia Spencer took the Oscar for her supporting role as Milly. She is fantastic and the scenes related to her chocolate pie could not have been easy to do with a straight face. Truly, all of the actors and actresses did a superb job in their roles. I could feel Cecilia’s pain when burying yet another miscarried child. And, my heart was definitely tugged when Mae Mobley (the adorable 3 year old daughter of a main character) cries by the window, shouting for Aibileen as she leaves to start a new life.
I’ll end with the words of the character Aibileen to Mae Mobley: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Those are words I think we can ALL take to heart!
In case anyone is in the market for either the book or movie, you can find both on Amazon!
This post has been submitted for inclusion in The Christian Home, Issue 75 hosted here.
As the featured columnist for the Movies and Music category, you can be looking forward to weekly posts on what we are watching or music we’ve enjoyed.
Feel free to leave suggestions for me as well that are family friendly or uplifting for adults. While I have movies and some music selections in mind, I’m always on the lookout for other great choices.