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The Help

3.9 56
Director: Tate Taylor

Cast: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard


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A 1960s-era Mississippi debutante sends her community into an uproar by conducting a series of probing interviews with the black servants behind some of her community's most prominent families. Skeeter (Emma Stone) has just graduated from college, and she's eager to launch her career as a writer. In a moment of inspiration, Skeeter decides


A 1960s-era Mississippi debutante sends her community into an uproar by conducting a series of probing interviews with the black servants behind some of her community's most prominent families. Skeeter (Emma Stone) has just graduated from college, and she's eager to launch her career as a writer. In a moment of inspiration, Skeeter decides to focus her attention on the black female servants who work in her community. Her first subject is Aibileen (Viola Davis), the devoted housekeeper who has been employed by Skeeter's best friend's family for years. By speaking with Aibileen, Skeeter becomes an object of scorn to the wealthy locals, who view her actions as directly challenging to the established social order. Before long, even more servants are coming forward to tell their stories, and Skeeter discovers that friendship can blossom under the most unlikely of circumstances. Bryce Dallas Howard co-stars in a touching tale of race relations based on author Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel of the same name.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The civil rights melodrama The Help is based on Kathryn Stockett's popular novel of the same name. The story takes place in 1963 Jackson, MS, where Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) is a middle-aged black maid who recently lost her only son. From the opening moments of the film she explains that she's raised 17 white children in her lifetime -- the irony being that these children grow up and eventually disregard those who truly raised them. Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) is a black maid whose outspokenness has given her a reputation for being a difficult employee, and Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) is a young white woman who has recently moved back home after graduating from college, only to find that her beloved childhood maid is gone and her mother won't give her a straight answer about what happened. Skeeter dreams of becoming a reporter and contacts Elaine Stein (Mary Steenburgen), a New York editor who isn't convinced of Skeeter's talent and instructs her to gain more experience before joining the big league. So Skeeter gets a job at the local newspaper writing a housecleaning column. But she sets her sights higher and pitches a book idea revolving around "the help" -- a collection of stories from a maid's perspective. She enlists Aibileen, who bravely agrees to tell her story to Skeeter, knowing that it could potentially put her life in danger. Skeeter's secret book project has fits and starts; the most challenging is a call for more maids to participate, and for Skeeter to tell the real story about her beloved nanny, Constantine (Cicely Tyson). As in the novel, the villain of the film is the vicious Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), who takes what almost seems like pleasure in seeing the help suffer. She leads a degrading "Home Help Sanitation Initiative," which requires Southern white homes to build what is essentially an outhouse for their help in order to maintain "sanitary" conditions. Much of the humor of the film comes from the give-and-take between Minny and Hilly, and when Skeeter's relationship with the maids becomes a little too familiar, Hilly, along with her circle of bridge-playing girlfriends, attempts to rein in her activism. The performances are uniformly excellent, especially from Davis and Spencer, who are the soul of the film, bringing their characters a dignity and fullness far beyond the novel, while Emma Stone is winning and comforting as the cute yet fiercely determined Skeeter, whose untamable curly hair is an all too blatant sign of her rebellious nature. Still, despite writer/director Tate Taylor's intimate knowledge of the novel (he's close friends with Stockett), he has trouble maintaining focus and bounces from one character to the next without regard to the overall story. While the bulk of the narrative revolves around Skeeter, Aibileen, and the book, there are several side plots -- a brush with romance in which Skeeter dates a handsome oil industry comer (Chris Lowell) and the story of Yule Mae (Aunjanue Ellis), a maid working for Hilly, who is refused the small loan she needs to help send her sons to college and is later arrested upon suspicion of theft -- that seem to be haphazardly thrown in without any regard to pacing or continuity, which works well in a novel but is difficult to translate to film. The supporting actors breathe life into the novel's characters, notably Allison Janney as Skeeter's socially timid mother, Sissy Spacek as Hilly's slightly addled mother, and Jessica Chastain as outsider Celia Foote, a bottle blond hated by Hilly's circle of friends. Overall, The Help is a poignant period piece that examines the unquestioned relationships of white socialites and their deferential black maids, and transforms an ugly period of American history into a hopeful future.

Product Details

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Walt Disney Video
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Special Features

Deleted scenes; Mary J. Blige's "The Living Proof" music video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Viola Davis Aibileen Clark
Emma Stone Skeeter Phelan
Bryce Dallas Howard Hilly Holbrook
Octavia L. Spencer Minny Jackson
Jessica Chastain Celia Foote,Celia Foote.
Ahna O'Reilly Elizabeth Leefolt
Allison Janney Charlotte Phelan
Anna Camp Jolene French
Eleanor Henry Mae Mobley
Emma Henry Mae Mobley
Chris Lowell Stuart Whitworth,Actor
Cicely Tyson Lila Rogers
Mike Vogel Johnny Foote,Actor
Sissy Spacek Missus Walters,Mrs. Walters
Brian Kerwin Robert Phelan
Wes Chatham Carlton Phelan
Aunjanue Ellis Yule Mae Davis
Ted Welch William Holbrook
Shane McRae Raleigh Leefolt
Roslyn Ruff Pascagoula
Tarra Riggs Gretchen
Leslie Jordan Mr. Blackly
Mary Steenburgen Elaine Stein
Tiffany Brouwer Rebecca
Carol Lee Pearly
Carol Sutton Cora
Millicent Bolton Callie
Ashley Johnson Mary Beth Caldwell
Ritchie Montgomery Bus Driver
Constantine Jefferson Young Skeeter

Technical Credits
Tate Taylor Director,Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Mohamed Khalef Al-Mazrouei Executive Producer
Kerry Barden Casting
Michael Barnathan Producer
Curt Beech Art Director
Nate Berkus Executive Producer
Mary J. Blige Songwriter
Jennifer Blum Executive Producer
Chris Columbus Producer
Sharen Davis Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephen Goldblatt Cinematographer
Brunson Green Producer
Jennifer Hawks Musical Direction/Supervision
Dean Jones Executive Producer
Sonya Lunsford Co-producer
Thomas Newman Score Composer
Mark A. Radcliffe Executive Producer
Mark Ricker Production Designer
Paul Schnee Casting
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Donald Sparks Asst. Director
Hughes Winborne Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Help
1. The Help [9:39]
2. Bridge Club [8:13]
3. Skeeter [8:06]
4. The Storm [7:41]
5. Courage [12:22]
6. Minny's New Job [6:53]
7. Not Good Enough [11:12]
8. Separate, But Equal [15:36]
9. More Stories [7:17]
10. Terrible Awful [4:06]
11. Benefit Dinner [9:39]
12. One More Story [7:15]
13. The Book [7:03]
14. Thank You [8:29]
15. The Truth [9:02]
16. End Credits [5:44]


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The Help 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great adaption of the book. Yes, some details were left out of the movie but the story was uncluttered and had amazing actors! By far, my favorite movie of the year. I saw it 3 times in the theatre and I am neither black or white! It obviously didn't reach the hearts that it needed to based on the last reviewer!
brandyMD More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, yep, makes you cry, makes you laugh and makes you see how awful people were and can be. The movie is almost as good as the book, follows very well-LOVED them both!
Jessica29IL More than 1 year ago
I have had books make me laugh and books scare me. This is the first time I've had a book that made me cry. Being from Jackson MS myself, but not from that Era, it really makes you upset about how ignorant our ancestors were, but glad that there were some people out there brave enough to stand up against the Jim Crow Laws and fight for what is right. The book starts off slow but once you get into it, it's hard to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ltxcity1 More than 1 year ago
Actors/actress were very good, movie was very interesting, vivid and true to life situations, easy to follow. However I personally found it very negative, with no positive affirmations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pancakes11 More than 1 year ago
Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, and Brunson Green’s “The Help” is a great family movie. This story takes place in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi when there was still a lot of racism against colored people. Minny and Aibileen are 2 of the main characters, and they are both colored maids that decide to help Miss Skeeter, who is a white woman that wants to be a writer and write a book about what it’s like being a colored maid and working for white people. They get more maids to help but they have to do it in secret or else they could get in trouble. All these maids want this book to be published so their white bosses know what they go through daily. The first criteria I used to evaluate this movie were the actors and actresses. A perfect example of a great actress in this movie is Viola Davis because she has the look of a sweet lady which really helps with playing the role of Aibileen. She also speaks the dialogue that’s written in the book perfectly. Another positive thing about the movie was the costume design. Every single person in this movie was wearing clothes that really fit in with the time and portrayed their character. Hilly would always be wearing dresses that were fancy, but you could still tell they were from the 1960s.The movie follows the book’s dialogue in a great way. For example Minny’s character is always talking in slang saying things like “That ain’t gone happen” or “we gone have to.” The movie is great, and you can watch it with the whole family too, but I really recommend reading the book. The book is amazing! It has so much more detail and you feel like you’re right there with the people telling the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chapter1-Take1 More than 1 year ago
Having fallen in love with The Help as a book, I was tremendously excited they were making it into a movie. When I heard Emma Stone was playing Jeeter, I was, er, sorry, whaaaaaat? But curiousity got the better of me and I too plonked down my $12, contributing to the $166 million the movie has netted so far. And, yes, Stone was fine. Her funny little mouth with its slightly protruding teeth, the fair skin and freckles all helped her to portray the serious and conflicted Skeeter. Tomorrow, if you're one of the holdouts, you can see for yourself; the film comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD. Emma Stone's performance aside, I could quibble that the movie failed to capture the dark essence of the civil liberties battle, that it stepped a tad little too lightly in its search for laughs and feel good 'dramedy', that it blithely accorded way too much power to one little white girl and not enough to the real heroes, the black men and women themselves. All true but despite that, there are two very good reasons to see The Help. One, Violet Davis, and two, Jessica Chastain. 1) This is another brilliant performance from Viola Davis, (Doubt) a performance that may garner a Best Supporting Acrtress nominaton. Mahnola Dargis said in the New York Times, "Ms. Davis keeps her cool even as she warms your heart and does her job, often beautifully. She doesn't just turn Aibileen, something of a blur in the novel, into a fully dimensional character, she also helps lift up several weaker performances and invests this cautious, at times bizarrely buoyant, movie with the gravity it frequently seems to want to shrug off." She's also in the next movie I can't wait to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and has just wrapped up Learning to Fly alongside Maggie Gyllenhall and Holly Hunter. 2) Playing an abbreviated version of Kathryn Stockett's Celia Foote, Jessica Chastain is being talked about as the next Meryl Streep. She appeared opposite Al Pacino in his play Salome, he raved about her to Terrence Mallick who cast her in Tree of Life, she's in The Debt, also out on dvd tomorrow and the upcoming Coriolanus opposite Ralp Fiennes in his directorial debut. The New York Film Critics Circle awarded her this years' Best Supporting Actress and she's also slated for Mallick's upcoming untiteld film so we all need to know who she is!
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