The Help

The Help

Tate Taylor (2011)

12A Certificate


Our Score
The Deep South is well-trodden territory for melodrama, but this 1960s-set movie, based on Kathryn Stockett's bestseller, gives a voice to those usually cast in supporting roles. Viola Davis (who has since gone on to win an Oscar for Fences) is the heart and soul of this adaptation as Aibileen, a black housemaid who has spent her life looking after the children of white employers. But, fed up with the treatment of her fellow maids by snooty local matrons like Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard), who wants segregated toilets for the help, she decides to dish the dirt to aspiring journalist Skeeter Phelan (La La Land's Emma Stone). The difficulty for Skeeter is convincing Aibileen's colleagues to come forward, too. Despite a lengthy running time of well over two hours, there's a sense that much is glossed over here, as writer/director Tate Taylor gives too many of the book's characters and subplots short shrift. But there are saving graces: Allison Janney as Skeeter's mum has some choice lines, while Jessica Chastain and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer are a great double-act as helpless, uneducated Celia Foote and her "sass-mouthing" housekeeper. Stone is an appealing heroine, too, making a fuss about the status quo when others just want to sweep it under the carpet.


An aspiring journalist returns to her Mississippi home in the 1960s and begins documenting the lives of black servants working for wealthy white families. Her project brings the community's household staff together, but creates controversy among their employers. Drama based on Kathryn Stockett's novel, starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard and an Oscar-winning Octavia Spencer.

Cast & Crew

Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan Emma Stone
Hilly Holbrook Bryce Dallas Howard
Aibileen Clark Viola Davis
Celia Foote Jessica Chastain
Charlotte Phelan Allison Janney
Missus Walters Sissy Spacek
Elizabeth Leefolt Ahna O'Reilly
Minny Jackson Octavia Spencer
Johnny Foote Mike Vogel
Stuart Whitworth Chris Lowell
Constantine Jefferson Cicely Tyson
Elaine Stein Mary Steenburgen
Preacher Green David Oyelowo
Jolene French Anna Camp
Yule Mae Davis Aunjanue Ellis
Henry the waiter Nelsan Ellis
Director Tate Taylor
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Disney (WDSMP UK)Guidance: SwearingAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 21 Oct 2011