Thursday, February 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Help

I don't think I ever saw a trailer for "The Help". Going just from the poster led to a significant misunderstanding about what the movie was about. I was expecting a touching comedy about two white women who used to be childhood friends, had a falling out, and their black servants help them to reconcile. Yummy thought it was about a rich white woman who fell on hard times and was forced to become a maid. Turns out it's about none of the above.

"The Help" is the story of an ambitious young author/journalist who wants to write a tell-all book from the perspective of black servants in early 1960's Mississippi. At first she can't get anyone to talk because they're afraid of being punished. But a few good ol' boys manage to convince them that things can't get any worse.

The movie manages to show not just the racism that we've all become familiar with, but the obliviousness of the racists. They'd swear up and down that they're not racist. They're doing the servant a favor by not letting them use the indoor bathroom. Really. They appreciate us building them their own bathroom.

This movie could have gone wrong in so many places. The characters and the audience keep expecting someone to bring the hammer down on these uppity black folk. But, aside from some spousal abuse, nothing really horrible happens. Just the sort of crap you expect from the head cheerleader in a high school or college movie. No burning crosses. No rednecks with pipes jumping out of the back of a truck. No setting churches on fire. No, just the fear of that kind of crap.

I hadn't planned to this this movie. I won't be getting this movie on DVD. But I'm glad that I saw it.

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