Best Director: Tate Taylor
Best Casting Director (new award): Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee
Best Set Decoration(new award): Rena DeAngelo
Best Costume Design: Sharen Davis
Best Supporting Actress (five):
1.Bryce Dallas Howard (Hilly)
2.Jessica Chastain (Celia Foote)
3.Octavia Spencer (Minny)
4.Viola Davis (Abiliene)
5.Allison Janney (Skeeter’s mom)
You are nobody unless you are somebody in this film, and it is loaded. In addition to the nominees, Emma Stone (Skeeter AKA Eugenia), Sissy Spacek (Hilly’s mom whose portrayal is just too good for words; absolutely delicious), and the incomparable Cicely Tyson (Constantine) round out the cast.
A chick flick? Well, maybe, but worth it.
You’ll laugh out loud, and you’ll cry, too. Might even join the applause at the end.
When I saw the trailer, I got so mad (as a Southerner) and mused to myself: “Here comes another typically anti-Southern movie about race made by a bunch of n’er-do-well Eastern establishment know-it-alls who must have gone to Haaarrrvard and Yale and have never stepped foot in the South.”
That trailer changed my plans that night, and I took off for Georgetown to see the advance screening.
To my seatmate I said: “I’m going to give this thing 30 minutes, and then I am outa here. I’m not sitting through another grueling movie just to please the producers.”
I stayed ’til the finish. With reason. I never once thought about leaving early.
The Help starts off strong and moves fast. Yes, it does exaggerate 1960s Southern life quite a bit with typical expected stereotypes, but don’t let that dissuade you, fellow Southerners. It’s all about race relations in Jackson, Mississippi as told by uniformed maids and uniformed (sleeveless dresses, bouffant hair, cigarettes, high heels) Stepford housewives.
An independent member of the white women’s group (Emma Stone) convinces the maids to “tell their story” which weaves nicely throughout and serves as the basis of the plot. Of course it’s the housewives, natch (the “Eves”), who are, again, the villains while their husbands take back seats and supply the cash (what else?).
Yes, some of the scenes do not flow well and jump without adequate explanation, but I’d rather my brain wonder than wander. At times, too much melodrama make it a bit soppy (the roles played by Cecily Tyson and Jessica Chastain) but they, overall, add to, rather than subtract from, the story.
The Ole Miss white boy frat man boyfriend with that haircut is absolutely perfect in his physical appearance and verbiage.
Shades of a Thelma and Louise re-make I thought it was when Hilly roared down the dirt road in those sunglasses and in that car, but she gets her “do.”Zings! More shots at the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Junior League, both still quite relevant after all these years, and, of course, the South, which always makes a good target in case you don’t have anything else to write about.
Meanwhile, I grew up in the South and never knew any family which banished hired help to her own bathroom.
My mother had a black maid two days a week when we lived in a duplex in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Lillian” was a robust woman who laughed a lot, and she was very pleasant to have around. On Fridays she made cornbread and collard greens (of which I am still not fond).
When I was 7 we moved to a house in the suburbs where my mom shared the services of “Dora” with Mrs. Campbell across the street. All I remember about Dora was that she was slender and pretty and played a mean trick on me one day when my mom sent me over to the Campbells to borrow a cup of sugar.
Dora was alone at the Campbells that afternoon when I knocked on the kitchen door. When she let me in, I spied a big pail of something on the floor. I can still recall the pattern of the floor tiles and where we were standing, in front of the sink. Dora told me to stick my nose way deep in that big pail and take a b-i-i-i-i-g sniff. Which I did. I was blown away and almost knocked flat by the smell. I remember the pain, and Dora laughing and laughing in fits of glee, bent over and having to hold her stomach with her hand, she laughed so hard. The pail contained ammonia. I guess she was paying me back for, for …?
The maids in the movie would never dream of doing anything so callous to an unsuspecting child nor treat their children like pieces of furniture like those selfish housewives did.
What’s the point of all this? Not all Southern white people are villains, and not all black people are like Dora.
Mr./Ms. Producer: You ever thought about making a white Southern woman the heroine of your movie?