Dear, dear me. This review is so long overdue, and honestly, I've put it off so long because I just don't know how to describe all of the wonderful brilliance of this story.
I read The Help after a friend lent it to my mom and sister, and the two of them raved about it. I think I was through it in two or three days--I just couldn't put it down. It's Kathryn Stockett's very first novel, and it's incredible--seriously the best modern fiction I've come across in awhile. Set in the 1960s when discrimination and racism were rampant and the Civil Rights movement was getting underway, this book tells the story of three women.
Aibleen is the maid who tries to follow the rules, bite her tongue, and do her job. She minds her own business, except when it comes to Mae Mobley, the little white girl she raises who gets no love from her mama.
Minny is Aibleen's best friend, but she's never been good at keeping her tongue under check. Her story begins when she loses her job with Hilly Holbrook, the conniving woman who would like to control every white woman's thoughts and treat every black woman as horribly as she can get away with.
Skeeter has just graduated from college, and isn't as interested in husband-hunting as her mother would like. Instead, she wants to write--she wants to write something important. She wants to collect the stories from black maids like Aibleen and Minny on what it's really like to work for white families.
But it's risky business, going against society--and Hilly--like that.
The Help was one of those rare movies that actually did a decent job at following the book from which it came. There were, of course, things that needed to be changed/shortened/taken out, but altogether I was satisfied with how well it followed the novel (and trust me, if I'm satisfied, that says something).
Note: the only thing objectionable in the movie is some language. But it could be worse, and it kinda gives the realistic feel for the time, if you know what I mean.
Viola Davis as Aibleen--oh she was wonderful. Well, I'm going to say that about all of them. When she had Mae Mobley repeat back to her the "You is smart. You is kind. You is important." phrase, I wanted to burst into tears; it was so sweet.
Minny was played by Octavia Spencer, and she portrayed the sassy best friend hilariously. Some of her best scenes are when her sarcastic comments go right over the head of Celia.
Celia Foote is the blondest girl ever who just wants to be able to cook but has secrets to hide nonetheless. Jessica Chastain as Celia wasn't exactly what I had pictured, but she did an excellent job and was really funny.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly was absolutely despicable. Ohh, I wanted to hurt Hilly so bad throughout the entire book, and Howard did a good job of making Hilly horrid and nasty but not a two-dimensional villian; she sincerely thinks her cruelty is justified. Dang I hate her.
I also have to add that personally, one of my favorite things about the movie was Sissy Spacek playing Hilly's mother, Mrs. Walters. She was hysterical.
Basically, all in all, you should go read The Help and watch The Help. That is the long and short of it. You won't regret it, I promise.
And if you've read or seen it/when you do, I want to know what you think and if you love it as much as me. (: