3.9 56
Director: Tate Taylor

Cast: Tate Taylor, 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 decidesSee more details below

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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 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.

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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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
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Walt Disney Video
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Special Features

Deleted scenes; Making of the Help: From friendship to film; In their own words: a tribute to the maids of Mississippi; Mary J. Blige's "The Living Protocol" 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

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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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