The Help (2011)

Synopsis: Emma Stone plays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan. Skeeter is a college graduate who wants to be a journalist. She lives in Mississippi where racial segregation is the way of life. The Black community is mistreated badly. Skeeter’s fond memories of the black woman who worked for her family motivates her to tell the story of others like her– known as “the help”– to the rest of the world. Of course, the Black community doesn’t want it to get worse for them than it already is so they are hesitant when Skeeter approaches some of them asking if they’d tell their story for her book. Eventually, a woman named Aibileen agrees to help Skeeter putting them both at risk in a place where such actions are illegal.

Positives: When I walked away from this movie I was motivated to continue the fight against injustice and against racism. This film does a good job of depicting the ignorance of the times and the ugliness of white supremacy. The story itself is fascinating both in how it shows a time so foreign to our own, yet so sadly similar. The story telling is excellent and the actors play their characters well.

Negatives: This movie falls victim to the “white Messiah” notion (Read J. Kameron Carter’s “It Ain’t About Black Women–It’s About White Women: On the Movie The Help). The main character is a white woman who “saves” the Blacks. While these stories need to be told to show that there were white people who were against these injustices, the problem is that this narrative structure often overshadows the plight of the Black during this time and what they had to do to earn their rights in this country.

Overall this is a film you should see. It is worth watching and discussing. It provides insight into our history and also our current condition.