August 19, 2012

The Help

It's funny how I ended up watching The Help. I asked a friend for movies I could watch, and she mentioned The Help as a good movie. Not being too familiar with it, I immediately assumed that it was the big comedy movie last year with a big ensemble. This one only had the big ensemble, and not the comedy. I was thinking of another movie when we talked, and didn't even bother reading the description/short summary before watching the movie. I just went ahead. I was a little surprised about the somber atmosphere right from the beginning. I kept thinking, "I thought this was supposed to be a funny movie." I realized quickly that this wasn't the movie I had in mind. At the same time, it was very inviting that I decided to watch the ntire thing anyway.

There have been a lot of movies set in the earlier years of the decade that focused on the issue of racism. Just in this blog alone, you'd be able to find at least two more movies dealing with the issue, To Kill A Mockingbird and Hairspray, a courtroom drama and a musical. This one was also a dramatic take on the subject, although more sensitive as it tackles the life not only of a colored person, but a colored person in a lower social class. I guess during those times, being colored automatically meant that you'd belong to a lower social class. If you think about it, colored people were always hired as help during the earlier years. It was also a very strong depiction, dialogue-driven so the power of the movie was found in the words people were saying. It showed different issues and prejudices white people had against the colored ones. One example was how the wives would not allow their maids to use the same bathroom as theirs just because they believed they could get diseases by using the same bathroom. People back then thought of all the crazy things

However, despite most of them being abused, the movie still had the balance and the certainty to show that now all white bosses were horrible. It showed that there are people who cared about the maids, who treated them with respect, and genuinely built a friendship with them. That's one of the best things about a movie. It's so easy to get caught up with the issue of racism and portray just how bad it was, and it was really bad. However, it was also good to see another side. The likes of Celia Foote and the man who bought a piece of land just so his help would have an easier time to get to work. These are examples of hope back then, that not all white people cared about color or social status. These were the people who had heart and looked after the people who help them everyday. 

The movie also depicted how some people were just stuck in social standards. There were people who actually liked their help, but couldn't continue having some sense of friendship because the society they belong to would look them down. They were afraid to be chastised so they stuck with the status quo even if it meant letting go of their principles. It's a real shame, but at the same time I understood especially given the circumstances. We all wish it never happened but it did. I'm just grateful things have changed for the better, at least with this issue. 

The movie was also about courage. Aibee took the courage to tell her story so that her son would be proud of her. She was afraid at first, especially after what happened to the the others. She was afraid she'd go to jail or lose her home and job. She placed a lot of things on the line but she thought it was worth it because she'd be able to get across her message. She would be able to educate other people about what it's really like  Skeeter demonstrated courage by writing about a topic no one had dared do. She was willing to take risks to put the maids' story out there and cause a change. She wanted to end all the non-sense and she made sure she was able to do it even with just her pencil. She was able to collect different stories and show the world just how insane things had become.She wrote everything she learned even if it meant losing a lot of things as well. 

I also now understand why the cast received so much praise. They were all excellent in this movie.  Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Mike Vogel, Mary Steenburgen and Allison Janney. Emma Stone was captivating and portrayed the rebel role really well. Bryce Dallas Howard also managed to evoke that strong feeling of hatred by portraying the ignorant, racist character she had. Jessica Chastain also gave a very strong, remarkable performance. However, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were the stars of the movie. They were both phenomenal. I'm glad the cast was recognized for their awesome performances. Tate Taylor did a wonderful job directing these people. 

It was a very good movie. It was an exquisite drama about life when people were still ignorant about the facts about colored people. Based from what I know and what I've read, I thought it was a pretty accurate description. It had great value and it was a moving story. I'm sure if you have maids, drivers, whoever, you'll appreciate them even more after watching this. They sacrifice a lot for us, and this movie's a good reminder of what they miss out on to help us in our daily life. 

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