The Help: A Movie That Does The Book Justice

Posted August 10th, 2011 by jodifur in Entertainment

I read a lot –almost a book a week.  And there are few books I loved as much as Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help. ” I was thrilled when I was invited to see a preview of the movie Monday night.  But I was also concerned.  Would the movie ruin the book I loved so?

It didn’t. The movie is not the book; they seldom are, and there are parts of the book they cut out that I definitely missed, but the core of the story, the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement, the changing of the times, the unlikely friendship between a black woman and a white woman, and the courage to stand up for what you believe in, is all there.

The acting in this movie is top notch.  One of my biggest complaints is that Emma Stone’s Skeeter is by no means ugly, as she was described in the book. She is beautiful, and incredible, in this film. Bryce Dallas Howard, yes, Ron Howard’s daughter, plays a character that is mean and racist and horrible to the core, without being campy, or over the top. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as Aibileen and Minny, the two main maids telling their stories, are stoic and heroic without being spiteful.  In fact, at times, they’re laugh-out-loud funny.

It is a “chick flick” you can take your husbands to; it is a movie with a heart and a soul, and you could have heard a pin drop in the audience during some of the weightier scenes.  I really can’t wait to see it again.

The movie, like the book, is full of racial overtones and inequality.  And no, it is not perfect, I really would have liked them to bring out Skeeter struggling with losing her lifelong friendships more, and the pain of losing her own childhood maid who raised her. And yes, the movie does say an awful lot about white privilege.  But it does make you think, and hurt for where we were as a country, and hopeful, for where we are now.

Jodi blogs at Jodifur about life, motherhood, working, and shoes. Mostly shoes.

***I was not compensated for this post but was invited to a free screening of the movie.  All opinions are my own.

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10 Responses to “The Help: A Movie That Does The Book Justice”

  1. mom

    I was honored to be taken as your guest Mon. night. It is also one of my favorite books and having lived at the time of the cvilil rights movement (in Chicago) it brought many memories of being a teenager at this time and that this movie as the book also did will appeal to many generations. It was truly a great movie. Love, Mom

  2. baltimoregal

    Awesome! My mom grew up in south GA during this time and has shared so many memories of how it was- she loved the book as well.
    I think it’s so sweet you took your mom!

  3. Kayleigh

    I actually hadn’t heard about this book until I saw a preview for the movie (which I will totally go see – I’m a huge Emma Stone fan). Now your review has me asking that age-old question: do I rush out and grab the book to read it first, or will I still enjoy it as a deeper version of the same story after seeing the movie?

  4. Justice Fergie

    I’m so glad to hear that you weren’t disappointed! The book is one of my all-time favorites and I am so reluctant to see the film for that reason. After reading this I can stop fretting and just go and see the doggone thing :-)

  5. Dawn Mooney

    I have a horrible track record with film adaptations of books that I’ve loved, so I have to admit to having a little nagging worry that I’ll leave the theater disappointed or frustrated. Sounds like I shouldn’t worry! :)

  6. DiPaola Momma

    I’ve been saving up my “mommy night out” points to go see this. I’m a book girl too. So often I have that Lit-Chick letdown when I go to see the film adaptation of a book I’ve adored. Some books though are just so rich they MUST be made into movies. I’m even more excited to see it now.

  7. Michelle

    Loved the movie. It was so well done. And I liked that it didn’t make any major huge plot-altering deviations from the book, which I loved even more!

  8. mary

    Thanks for your review. I too was worried about how they would adapt the book. Your review is right on target. I went in Denver — the audience was so impressed that they applauded at the end AND almost everyone stayed to see the credits — haven’t seen either of those reactions in a while.