After shamefully realizing I had seen none of the movies up for an Oscar, I decided to rectify that problem by viewing The Help last night. So, without further ado, my three completely random thoughts about this best Picture nominee. And no, I have never read the book by Kathryn Stockett.
1. Early on, when the story starts with the plucky young lady trying to get work as a writer while resuming her old life in the south, it felt eerily like a quasi-biography of Harper Lee. The decades may be different, but the similarities between the main character and Lee, both fighting injustice and inequality with the written word, resonated to me immediately. And I kind of liked that aspect of The Help.
2. Except for the assassination Medger Evers, some police brutality, and talk of violence, the carnage that existed back then does not seem to occur. The end result plot development of the movie and how it relates to Bryce Dallas Howard’s character (trying hard not to give it away here) would have resulted in a more cataclysmic finale. Basically several someone’s would have been violently killed. The Help has much reality seeping all through it, but that part of the ending struck me as Pollyannaish.
3. While the dichotomy between Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters was interesting, more and more as The Help progressed I kept wondering how these two were even friends to begin with. Surely the four years away at University did not shatter the one characters perspective that much, while the other one transforms into a conniving racist? Nor is this simply a road not taken scenario. The good and evil inside each of them seems to be indued since childhood. But it all just seems to come to a head now?
Least it sounds like I am trashing The Help, I am not. The majority was quite enjoyable to me, and it will most likely nab Best Picture, so I can wholeheartedly recommend the movie as a historical piece and a character study. If you do not know much about the time period, watch The Help and you can become illuminated. Then read To Kill A Mockingbird and Black Like Me and complete your education. Learn The World.
P.S. The Help poster is copyright 2012 to Dreamworks.