Notes Towards a Review of Kathryn Stockett and Tate Taylor’s The Help

The most hated movie of the year.

The most loved movie of the year.

The shittiest movie of the year.

The best movie of the year about shit.

The most sad funny movie of the year.

The least funny sad movie of the year.

Was The Help the biggest money maker this year without explosions or CGI?

Nope. Bridesmaids. (I assume The Hangover 2 had at least one explosion)

[side essay on the politics of gross out comedy versus the politics of feel-good dramas. side side essay on the subtlety and expressiveness in Kristen Wiig’s face versus Viola Davis’ face – point to Wiig]

The last movie in my memory that passed the Bechdel Test in nearly every scene.

[minus brief subplot with Emma Stone and a rugged Southern gentlemen, minus even briefer subplot with maid Minny and her abusive, off-screen husband. like in The Joy Luck Club, men flee the scene in this movie, to escape feminine wrath. when they enter it, it is to inflict violence or stand to the side with proper posture.]

The Help wants to be treated like a normal movie.

It wants to be loved, given a gift of chocolate, brewed a cup of coffee.

The Help wants each of its characters to be someone you are or used to be or could have been.

The Help is harmless.

The Help is harmless.

The Help is harmless.

It will not hurt you. It would never hurt you or have intention of hurting you.

The Help features exactly one authentic relationship, that between Emma Stone and her former maid, Constantine. Constantine, played by veteran Cicely Tyson, has the most interesting face and voice in the whole damn movie. She provides easily digestible chunks of advice and pathos, and is given a heartbreaking backstory. Constantine is the avoided subject in The Help. The Help actively avoids her beating heart for the sake of other funnier, braver, salvageable hearts.

Robert Bresson will rise from his grave at the hour of judgement to film her story. $4

♥♥♥

If carefully crafted scenes of familial forgiveness brought upon by forces of unrelenting bigotry give you the warm and fuzzies, see:

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
The Color Purple
Mississippi Burning
To Kill a Mockingbird
 

If you were offended by even the idea of The Help, see:

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Far From Heaven
Au Hasard Balthazar
5×2
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