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The Help

  • Drama
  • 2011
  • Tate Taylor
  • 140 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Oscar-winning drama starring Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain. In 1960s Mississippi "Skeeter" Phelan returns home from college determined to become a writer. But when she decides to write about the experiences of black housemaids working for prominent white families, it rocks the community on both sides of town.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

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.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Eugenia "Skeeter" PhelanEmma Stone
Hilly HolbrookBryce Dallas Howard
Aibileen ClarkViola Davis
Celia FooteJessica Chastain
Charlotte PhelanAllison Janney
Missus WaltersSissy Spacek
Elizabeth LeefoltAhna O'Reilly
Minny JacksonOctavia Spencer
Johnny FooteMike Vogel
Stuart WhitworthChris Lowell
Constantine JeffersonCicely Tyson
Elaine SteinMary Steenburgen
Preacher GreenDavid Oyelowo
Jolene FrenchAnna Camp
Yule Mae DavisAunjanue Ellis
Henry the waiterNelsan Ellis

Crew

rolename
DirectorTate Taylor

Details

Theatrical distributor
Disney (WDSMP UK)
Released on
2011-10-21
Languages
English
Guidance
Swearing
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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