“The Help” a lovely, inspirational tale
The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett and directed by Tate Taylor is an inspirational story about a group of brave women who break through the racial barriers dividing the deeply segregated town of Jackson, Mississippi.
This tale was set in the 1960s and it portrays the lives of rich white families and the black maids who work for them. There are three main characters: maids Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Miss Skeeter (Emma Stone), the daughter of a cotton plantation owner. Minny Jackson is a tempestuous and outspoken woman who is unafraid to stand up for herself or her beliefs. Her fiery personality often gets her into trouble with her employers and also provides much comic relief. Aibileen is a repressed woman who struggles daily with the grief of her dead son. She looks to fill that hole with the little girl she cares for: Mae Mobley. Miss Skeeter is a recent college graduate who is stuck between the old way of life and her progressive ideals. She sees the Jackson society as an opportunity to analyze that life and advance her writing career.
Miss Skeeter decides to write a book detailing the lives of the black maids in Jackson. Reluctantly, Aibileen and Minny agree to help. Eventually, many more maids join the experiment. Each person involved is concerned about the very real danger they face. None of them want to be subjected to hate crimes or be sent to prison, so they hide their identities.
Writing Miss Skeeter’s book is half the battle. The events that follow its publication are even more challenging.
As a book, The Help was nicely written. It was complex and had a plethora of multidimensional characters. At times, the book tended to ramble and not progress the plot. It also jumped inconsistently from one perspective to the next, which disrupted the flow of the story and caused confusion.
This story was presented much better as a movie than as a book. The plot was streamlined, which solved the inconsistencies and the confusion. The downside to making the plot more understandable was that many lovely scenes and details were cut or arranged in a different order.
In both the book and the movie, an important theme shines through. That theme is that every person is important and that every person has a story to tell. Aibileen sums up that theme perfectly with the saying, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
This story is a wonderful example of how anyone is capable of realizing their true potential in the face of adversity. The strong women of Jackson, Mississippi can be an example for anyone who wishes to stand up for their beliefs and tell the world their story.