Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book to Movie: The Help

The Help (Movie Tie-In) Book to Movie Review: YAY! I finally got to go and see The Helpon Sunday with my sister. I've been wanting to see it since it's release but life got in the way. I will simply say this and then add more...I LOVED it. I laughed when I was supposed to laugh, I cried when I was supposed to cry (ok, maybe a few more than actually necessary) and I thought that overall the director did an excellent job of retaining the spirit of the book.

For those us who've read the book, it an excellent adapatation. For those who didn't read the book, the movie captures all the essentials of the book. If you haven't read the book, go and get it now because there are nuances in the novel that aren't in the movie.

I love Emma Stone so I knew that I would simply adore her as Skeeter and I did. Viola Davis was marvelous as Abileen; Octavia Spencer had all the gumption that Minny needed to shine on the screen and Jessica Chastain (Who IS she?) knocked me off my seat as Ceclia Foote. For me, she stole the movie. Her performance was understated and golden as the outsider in Jackson. She wants so desperately to fit in and tries so hard. It takes a friendship with Minny for her to realize that she doesn't need those stuck up snobs to be happy.

Let's talk about Bryce Dallas Howard's portrayal of Hilly Hollbrook. I loathed her in the book and often wondered how someone didn't slap her but in the movie Ms. Howard made her dreadful. There was nothing, absolutely nothing redeemable about her character. She is a hateful woman. She is miserable with her life and therefore makes everyone around her miserable. She is fearful of change and of progress. For me she always embodied the thoughts of that time period and the shortsightedness of some people.

Does the movie or the book address all the problems of that era? Of course not, nothing can encaputulate all things. What it does is give a voice to people who didn't have one before.

The one thing that struck me with the book and then again with the movie is how black women were allowed to raise white children, which is a pretty important task, cook and clean but were not given the respect in other areas of the home. This has always seemed a bit of an oxymoron to me and I suppose it always will.

I could go on and on about the performances from Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson but I really think they speak for themselves. I was worried about the casting in the movie but they did a pitch perfect job in the end and I wouldn't change it at all.

Book to Movie Final Take: 4.75/5



Vanessa@Luxuria September 13, 2011 at 3:18 PM  

The Help was definitely one of my fav books of all time. I was really looking forward to see the film, until I read in the British press that the author actually stole the story (some parts verbatim) from her families maid. That just made me so sad, that I don't think I can bear to watch the film now :-(
Her maids story was heartbreaking especially as Kathryn Stockett never asked her permission to use her life story as the basis of her book.

Julie September 13, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

I hadn't heard that and I'm surprised because people love to run that stuff in the press over here. I know that she was inspired by her family's maid but I hadn't heard about the stealing part.

Ash September 13, 2011 at 6:53 PM  

Yeah, the New York Times and Huffington Post have run a number of stories regarding the suit. It's pretty telling that Stockett's father went on the record basically saying she'd love the suit because it'd up her money in sales, and the brother supported his maid suing her for essentially making her a character, and a self loathing black character at that. I abhorred the book for it's writing style, and tried to circumvent that but every article interviewing Stockett left me with a similar bad taste in my mouth. I'm glad the movie was good though, that I'm actually looking forward to!

Julie September 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM  

Interesting. I'd never heard any backlash from it. I don't think it would or can change my mind. If there is truth in the lawsuit, then the family of the maid deserves to be compensated.

Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting September 20, 2011 at 4:45 AM  

I must be the only blogger in the world who hasn't read the book or seen the film! I really must remedy this ASAP :)

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