Octavia Spencer

The Help

Year: 2011
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Written By: Tate Taylor (screenplay) and Kathryn Stockett

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a great movie and I can see that, but this movie makes me sad more than anything else. The world is full of hypocrites; of hateful, judgmental, and ignorant people who live to hurt others. Movies like this are good at reminding us that they are out there.  We don’t need a movie to do that though.  These people didn’t just live in the 60s; they have lived and thrived among us for the 50+ years since. Every single day there are people all over the place reminding us how awful people can be; it’s an unfortunate reality of life. This movie is sad, it’s about the hate that has existed among us and about how mean people can be. I am not a fan of this movie because I am not a fan of the mood it has put me in. I respect the story that it is telling and hope that it reaches the closed minded people of the world.  I was reached by another movie with a similar theme though, and everything else after I have just found depressing instead of moving.

This movie might not move me but it has the potential to move so many people and that makes it important. I sincerely hope that each and every other person that watches this movie learns a serious and important lesson. There is nothing good about hate, about judging another person based on the race, gender, or sexual preference. I do my best in life to never be that way and I personally hate reminders about how others choose to be.  This movie is really sad, and I never enjoy watching it.  Amber read the book, and although I respect everything my wife loves I do not enjoy this movie as she does. I don’t know all the back story that she does though and would probably feel differently if I had read the book.

Another reason I do not like this movie is because I love Bryce Dallas Howard and in this one she plays one of the most awful women I have ever seen in a movie.  These women are out there, we all know one or two.  I just hate seeing an actress I am so fond of play such a despicable character. Bryce Dallas Howard of course is the daughter of the great filmmaker and once actor Ron Howard.  I like her not only because of that but because of some of her performances in other movies.  I thought she was incredible in The Village and Lady in the Water although I might be one of the few that actually loved both of those movies.  Hilly Holbrook is a woman full of hate and arrogance.  There is absolutely nothing to like about her and that is not Bryce Dallas Howard’s fault, I just wish someone else had played the part.  I would feel much better hating a character that is supposed to be hated if she was played by someone I didn’t like.

Emma Stone is great in this movie.  I was not her biggest fan a few years ago when she burst onto the scene but I have come around. She is a great actress that shows very good versatility and her career seems to get more distinguished every year. One ironic tidbit in relation to her and this movie is that both she and Bryce Dallas Howard have now played the same character, Gwen Stacy, in different Spiderman movies. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are both fantastic in this movie as well but I fear they won’t have many other opportunities to shine like they did in this one.  I hope that I am wrong about this because I thought they were both great and would love to see them again.  Octavia Spencer did win the Academy Award for her part so that should open up many opportunities for her.  I just don’t see her fitting into many other roles as well as she fit into this one.

I see this as a movie about women made for women.  There are very few men in the movie at all and none with an extensive part.  I may see this as a movie for women but I still think it is a movie EVERYONE should see because we all need to learn the lessons that are offered from a film like this.  We all need to see how destructive and uncalled for hate and racism are.  Our country has come a long way since the sixties but it hasn’t come far enough if you ask me.  Racism is still rampant in this country and more often than not leaders on all sides make things worse as opposed to better. This country will never be able to be great again until we learn to be better as people.  We have to be able to work together, we have to be able to treat each other like human beings, and we need to quit with all the hate.  I don’t think this will ever happen, but the world would be a better place.  People of different races and sexual preferences are no less human than the person judging them but some people are too close minded to see the reality of that.  These types of people will always be around, and they will always find someone to put into power that will validate their beliefs.

I don’t like this movie or movies like it because they hurt me.  I feel an uncomfortable feeling in my gut every time I watch a movie like this because racism bothers me so badly.  That isn’t a feeling I like to endure and no matter how good a movie might be I find it hard to like when it makes me recognize the ugly realities of human nature.  This movie is worth your time though, despite the bad feelings while watching it now I have still found myself sucked into the story.  It is a good story, and one everybody out there can learn from.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really like this movie. It is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations. I think that all of the actors in the movie were perfectly cast. They played their parts perfectly and looked amazing in the costumes of the era. The book was truly amazing and moving. It made me think about how we all have treated each other over the centuries, and like Ryan, it always makes me sad.

It reminds me that we are still fighting for simple civil rights. I grew up in the South. My great grandparents had African American “help.” After reading this book, I talked to my grandma about it. I never once remember ever hearing my family (my mom’s or my dad’s sides of the family) speak in a derogatory way of anyone from that culture. I grew up not even knowing their was ever a difference. My grandma said that she remembered her maid and that she was like family. Their families spent Christmas together and everything. This made me so proud of my grandma and my family before me. I get to claim to be a part of the lucky ones. There is still so much racism and prejudice out there and it is sickening. I wish everyone could just go about their own lives and leave others to theirs.

The book isn’t based on real-life events. All of it is fictional, and even knowing that it is still heartwarming and enlightening. I totally recommend both the book and the movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Helter Skelter (2004)

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