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The Help: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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The Help serves as a reminder that we are all equal in God’s eyes. Produced by DreamWorks Pictures and based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book, The Help offers a unique look at pre-civil rights movement Jackson, Mississippi.

The cinematic retelling of Stockett’s novel, starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, and Sissy Spacek (to name a few), garners a real emotional reaction. Engaging from start to finish, The Help reveals the humor, sadness, joy, and courage of the women who dared to change their black and white society.


Fresh out of college, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan soon begins to notice the treatment of "the help", the black women who work at the local homes, after returning to Jackson. Raised by a maid herself, Skeeter is drawn to the women who raise her friends’ children, who clean their homes, and do their shopping, yet are not afforded basic human rights in the community or on the job. Inspired to write a book that will shake the foundation of her hometown, Skeeter lobbies for help, to get the straight story from the maids. She wants to write the good and the bad the women encounter, an illegal action for all involved in Jackson. With their livelihood and freedom on the line, "the help" start talking.


Director Tate Taylor’s take on Stockett’s story will move you – if not to tears, then to an appreciation of the sacrifices and courage individuals made to make America the equal land of opportunity. The Help features a fantastic cast: Emma Stone as the plucky Skeeter, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as maids Aibileen and Minny, Allison Janney as Skeeter’s former beauty queen mom, the manipulative Hilly Holbrook (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), and her mother, Sissy Spacek. All stand strong in these substantial roles, but the standout performances are given by Spencer as the bold and beautiful Minny and Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote, an out-of-towner who is looked down on by the “proper” mothers of Jackson.

Not a tearjerker that keeps you in a state of depression, The Help offers humorous moments and touching scenes, as well as uplifting messages from the pulpit of Minny and Aibileen’s church, including teaching on loving your enemy and God’s provision for the Israelites to be freed from slavery. At almost 2 hours and 20 minutes, it is a long movie; however, there isn’t a moment when you’ll feel like you are waiting for the movie to end. Time flies as you are fully engrossed into the lives of these women as they begin to tell their side of the South’s story.

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, this film is inappropriate for children. Parents should know that, unfortunately, foul language (both profanity and obscenities) are an issue. Racial slurs also are used, albeit to authentically mirror the racism of the era.


From the messages of courage and the power in loving your enemy comes a story of a few women who dared to challenge the system set in Jackson, Mississippi. It touches on the evil and the good done by white and black, showing the extremes of our humanity. For its inspiring story and cast of exceptional talent, The Help earns high marks and a spot on my favorite movies of 2011 list.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's