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4.6 out of 5 stars80
4.6 out of 5 stars
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 10, 2012
The Help(released Aug./11)is a thoroughly disappointing entry in a long line of film entries to do with race relations in the south;this particular foray finding us in the early 60s.
One Skeeter Phelan(Emma Stone) is an aspiring writer who gains a toehold into her profession by writing an advice column for the Jackson,Miss.newspaper.Upon returning home she finds the black maid that raised her has been dismissed.She is upset and gets a brainwave to write a book from the titled "helps" perspective.We are introduced to various maids,their families and their hardships in relation to their working circumstances,along with their social ones.We are also given almost a verbatim accounting of the then laws of the State of Mississippi governing Blacks and their interactions with Whites and visa versa.Many people get hurt along the way,both white and black,both mentally and physically.Skeeter,of course in the end,gets Stein books in NYC to finally publish her "heartrending"(my quotes)story.Yahoo.
From the moment a movie begins I want to feel that 1)it is actually going somewhere,which will and most importantly, 2)get me involved,somewhere along the line,in what I am seeing on the screen.Neither of these things occurred to any degree whatsoever during this ponderous 146 minute borefest supremo.When the movie tried to get interesting at various points I was so put off with what had led up to that point,that I could have cared less.And to make matters worse the plot and dialogue were cliched to the nth degree.Sorry folks we have been there and done this SO many times that a film of this topic,in this day and age,absolutely HAS to be top drawer from the start or it is doomed to failure,because it has found far superior platforms in the past either at the movies or on television.
The best thing I can say about this film is it was really good to see Cicely Tyson,Sissy Spacek and Mary Steenburgen back on the screen.
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r and the picture is clean and crisp.Extras include commentary and deleted scenes.
In conclusion give this bomb a wide pass.If you want something more stimulating and decent about race relations and prejudice in the south,this is NOT the place to look.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Look, I haven't read the book nor plan to but this movie is something Hollywood pats their backs about. "Oh, look, we've made a movie from a bestselling book about an injustice...that happened now 50 years ago! Let's navelgaze at how bad our past was and congratulate ourselves for not employing illegal aliens as maids now...oops, OK, well, we treat our maids well and pay them union wages...Oh, we don't...Oh, never mind, just watch this movie then." I guess that means the movie about Latino or Filipina maids abused and bullied across the globe will come out in 2062.

Anyway, I found the actual movie ponderously slow. It takes a full hour and a half of buildup to get interesting. Why so much back story? We get it. Pick up the pace!

The acting is overall good bar Dallas Bryce Howard who can't act her way out of a paper bag. The token bone of a love "story" for Emma Stone was unnecessary and seemed completely irrelevant. There is a distinctive lack of males overall in this chick flick and even the abusive husband of one of the maids we never even see him onscreen. Not that the one scene is not effective but it was like they wanted to show an African-American world where men only existed offscreen. In fact the major references were news stories of the time shown in a magazine article on Medger Evers and the TV broadcast of the Emmett Till murder. (Those of you unaware, Wiki both names and learn something of the Civil Rights Movement from somethig other than movies).

The story would have been better served by tighter editing, axing at least 30 minutes off the long drawn-out snoozefest start and having way way more of Ocatvia Spencer's character onscreen.

The extras are shameful. All we get is deleted scenes. Come on! This DVD was a perfect opportunity to have an actual mini-documentary on what life was really like for these maids in Mississippi in the '60s. After all, the movie is really supposedly a life lesson on the evils of racism.
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