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The Help
BLU-RAY disk
12.19.2011 By: Stephanie Cooke
The Help order download
Director:
Tate Taylor

Actors:
Emma Stone
Viola Davis
Octavia Spencer

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for whom they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When the book first came out, I really wanted to read it. Then, in what seems like days after its release, it was announced that a movie adaptation of the book was already in the works. With my queue of books to read before it, I never found time to get to it, unfortunately. Iím usually that person who absolutely has to read the book first, but this time round, it just wasnít meant to be. The novel THE HELP is written by Kathryn Stockett and was adapted for the big screen by her best friend, writer and director Tate Taylor.

From watching the trailers (and as mentioned, not reading the book), I assumed that this movie was centered on Emma Stoneís character, Eugenia ďSkeeterĒ Phelan. Thatís really not the case. Stoneís role in the film is substantial, but I really donít think that I would consider her the main character. Sheís central in the sense that she ties the story together through her writing. Stone does have a lot screen time, but I think that the true main characters of this story are Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer). Additionally, Bryce Dallas Howard has a pretty big supporting role as Hilly Holbrook and Jessica Chastain, while not in the first half of the film very much, plays a substantial part in the second half. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that for her role in THE HELP, Chastain will likely get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

There are likely a lot of men who are brushing off THE HELP because they think that itís a chick flick. In a lot of ways, it really is, but itís not a romantic chick flick, it focuses on real issues and is presented as a historical fiction. This movie is definitely not going to be everyoneís cup of tea, but it really is a great movie, despite being much more geared towards women. The story is extremely solid, the actors and actresses involved all bring their ďAĒ game and do an exceptional job with each of their respective roles.
THE EXTRAS
The Making of "The Help:" From Friendship To Film: This feature actually focuses more on Kathryn Stockett, the author of the novel The Help, and the director and writer of the screenplay, Tate Taylor. These two have actually been friends since they were about 5, so this feature goes over the background of their lives as well as what led up to the creation of the book The Help and the movie that soon followed.

In Their Own Words: A Tribute To The Maids Of Mississippi: Octavia Spencer and Tate Taylor go and interview actual maids from the Mississippi area who worked for families like Taylorís back in the day. Itís kind of an interesting feature and an especially relevant one to the film.

Deleted scenes with introductions by Director Tate Taylor: Well, like most films, some footage almost always gets cut from the final theatrical release. Usually when it comes to adapting a book to a movie though, itís especially tricky to cut out scenes, since fans of the book expect the movie adaptation to be pretty similar to the movie they played in their minds while reading the book.

"The Living Proof" music video by Mary J. Blige: Not too much to say about this. Itís a music videoÖ itís by Mary J. BligeÖ itís a song from the movie. Thatís pretty well it.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Iím not 100% sure that I would ever watch THE HELP again, but itís one of those things that only time can tell. It is, however, definitely a movie that everyone should see at least once. The special features included were well thought out and a lot of work went into telling the story behind-the-scenes. Between the exceptional performances and the story, THE HELP is an excellent example of modern cinema.
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