Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A little bit of Help

I finally watched The Help. When my 29-year-old male cousin, who doesn't like anything close to a romantic comedy, is recommending the movie, then I guess it’s high time I watch it.

I didn’t know much about the plot going into the movie. Actually, I suppose I should have connected the dots. A story about the help, featuring two black women and a writer in the South? I definitely should’ve realized ahead of time that this movie was set in the 1960s and would cover a few race issues. I didn’t though.

That’s usually the way I like to watch movies – without knowing the main story line. I like to be enticed enough by the preview to want to watch it, but, beyond that, let the movie tell the story. I hate those previews that give away the entire movie. What’s the point in watching the actual movie at that point?

Anyway, back to The Help. I remember the previews looking pretty decent. Turns out the movie was more than decent. It was a very good movie. The rave reviews are, perhaps, a little blown out of proportion, but I wouldn’t have an issue if the cast did very well at the Academy Awards this year.

The Help was a dramatic movie about the very serious topic of the civil rights movement, but, oddly enough, that didn’t affect the comedy. There were still plenty of laughs throughout the entire film. I suppose it does still fit best into the ‘Drama’ category, but it mixes in a little romance with a lot of comedy too.

The plot of the movie didn’t leave me astounded, but the way comedy was infused with drama left me very impressed. One minute you were laughing along with Celia Foote (played by Jessica Chastain). Then you are completely silent, overcome by the pain Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) expresses. Throughout the film you’re cheering along Skeeter (Emma Stone) to break down those racial barriers and bring some 22nd century into the 1960s.

When I realized this was a film about the civil rights movement, I was curious. I’d learned about the topic since I was in grade school, so I wanted to see what this movie could tell me about the 1960s that I didn’t already know. It didn’t fail in doing just that, giving me a glimpse into the daily lives and challenges of the maids, housekeepers and nannies of that time period. These characters showed me the kind of challenges that real people had probably faced in the '60s -- challenges I hadn't even considered before.

If you haven't seen The Help yet, I'd suggest you do. It’s a well-written story and superbly acted movie that will take you through an arc of emotion, leaving you very satisfied and, maybe, a little wiser too.