The Help- A Movie Review & Book Review Revisited

This past weekend, I saw the movie, The Help which was based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett.  I finished reading the book in May & loved it.  The book review is posted here and I’d like to re-visit it before I talk about the movie and how fabulous that was as well.

The Help was a gripping book – at times, I could not sleep after reading it.  I was hooked and what was neat about the book is how the author wrote it from the perspective of the three protagonists- the main characters of the book. She not only shifted from accent to accent when she did this, she kept the reader focused on each of their lives and she did it quite gracefully.  You were able to get to know everyone in this town quite intimately and felt like you knew them. The book, of course was amazing to read and I would highly recommend reading it even if you watched the movie or the type of person who just watches movies in favor of reading the book.  While the movie was excellent (I give it five stars) and gripping in its own right, the story derives its basis from the book and the book will let your imagination run wild in ways the movie did not.

Of course, considering the book was 451 pages long, the movie was made quite well and did not miss a beat.  The premise of the book is the same and the movie captures it perfectly– the 60s, the dawn of the Civil Rights movement, and the South- specifically, Jackson, Mississippi, and the point of the view of the help- the hired maids, nannies, and help that enriched so many homes but yet never received the respect they seemingly deserved.   This is a heart and gut-wrenching movie and book about the struggles the help faced and what they put up with to keep their jobs, their homes, their families in-tact, and all the while living in silence.  They accepted separate but equal, accepted being treated like fourth and fifth class citizens, lived in fear, and accepted their fate.

There is a line in the movie which sums it up the best because no one seemed to care about the stories of these men and women.  In fact, even the police at the time took it at word when a white man or woman reported a robbery or pointed the finger at a black woman or man. No one listened, no one cared but when these women were able to speak, when they were able to write the truth, when they were able to share their stories, they felt, despite their physical and societal status… Free!

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5 thoughts on “The Help- A Movie Review & Book Review Revisited

  1. Ruchi also added the following to my response about servants, and growing up in a class-based system… “There was also the feeling of giving them ‘ideas above their station’. Anyways the movie is especially thought provoking for those of us who grew up with maids and servants and compare attitudes and our personal connections to them. I still go back home to the cook I had as a tween and I totally get Skeeters feelings. Go ahead and put My comments on ur site…it would be interesting to hear other peoples reactions!”

  2. I really enjoyed the movie. The only thing that bothered me was the redemption of Skeeter’s Mother and Hilly at the end of the movie. Hilly’s emotional breakdown after Abileen called her a Godless woman and Skeeter’s Mother thanking her for bringing back courage to their family after courage skipped a generation seemed like a nice tidy Hollywood wrap up. I didn’t understand the need to “redeem” these characters in the movie, but not in the book. Maybe it was Abileen’s spiritual background and her living her religion, while Hilly’s who stated she was a Christian behaving counter to her religion’s teaching.

  3. And Ruchi’s comment above made me realize that when I read the book and watched the movie, I was reminded of the caste and class system that seemed to be prevalent at least where I visited in India as a kid. It brought me back to the trips I made when “untouchables” could not be touched… something about people being diseased simply because of their caste. They were the same as me, looked the same, so it was not a race or religious issue but rather a caste issue. Because they were born to a lower caste, they were not to be touched- we could not eat at the same table, or sit on the same furniture. Anyway, the ugly truth is that no matter how much progress we think we may have had in this country or others, you have to wonder… “have we really?”

  4. My cousin shared this on the Get Clued In facebook page, and I wanted to post here…so true! “The fact I loved was how social and peer pressure made people act the way they did and it still does. The firing of the family maid, treating people a certain way, aping the social leader in a group are all examples. We still subscribe to the whole idea of what will people say and think and it sometimes affects our actions for the worse. The movie just reinforced how we change and still don’t change.”

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