by Joanna Isimbi
The Help is a 2011 film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. The film and novel describe the story of young white woman and aspiring journalist Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan. The story focuses on her relationship with two black house cleaners, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, during the Civil Rights era in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi. In an attempt to become a journalist and writer, Skeeter decides to write a book from the point of view of the house cleaners referred to as "the help”. I think that The Help is a safe film about a volatile subject. Describing the story of how African-American house cleaners in the South viewed their employers, the film is equally the story of how they empowered a young white woman to write a best-seller about them.
The Help is an exhilarating, funny, hopeful and courageous film that deals with great human values without ever falling into sadness. Several films have dealt with the subject and I believe that The Help is one of the best. Its strength lies in the characters: the good Aibileen and Minny, as well as Skeety, Celia and the infamous Hilly, leave an unforgettable picture. Certainly, I have to agree that The Help is not always consistent and sometimes goes astray in clichés, but it also knows how to tackle these at the right time. People say that a big change sometimes starts with a murmur. With The Help, we realize what the subtlety of racism was at this period of history and how it is crazy that those women trusted the women with their children but refused to share the same toilet!
I believe that different people no matter their age, race or gender would enjoy this movie because it is about everyone. The movie teaches us about race relations, respect and love. The spectator puts himself or herself in the shoes of these women in uniform, invisible and humiliated on a daily basis, but find the strength to survive! They also remind us that love can conquer everything else. One of the character, Aibileen Clark has a very strong relationship with the girl she looks after and she often tells her that no matter what “she is kind. She is beautiful. She is important”. This shows that no matter what color, race or gender you are, you are important. I have watched the movie and it had worthwhile content, was funny, and heartwarming, all at the same time. I think that it would be of interest to anyone because the story teaches good lessons of acceptance, camaraderie and perseverance. The movie is unquestionably not about hate but about love.