Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Help

Remember what good movies used to be like?  You fell in love with the characters (or hate)?  You became totally absorbed in the stories and when the movie ended you felt like a better person?

So few movies like that these days.  I can't tell you how many movies I've gotten from Netflix, only to eject them from my DVD recorder because they were too violent, stupid and offensive (like "The Bridesmaids"), or poorly cast (why is Brad Pitt in just about EVERY major movie).

Last night was the exception.  I watched "The Help".  I had heard a lot about this movie and frankly, was expecting an overly sentimental version of "Poor Blacks Mistreated By Evil Whites."  Well, I'm glad to say I was WRONG.

This movie had everything.  Perfect casting from Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Allison Janney, and (surprise of all surprises) Bryce Dallas Howard; daughter of the former child actor and now successful director Ronnie Howard!  I didn't know who she was until the end of the film.  Boy was I surprised because usually children of actors aren't that good.  Bryce has it!

One of my biggest disappointments in movies is that movies that have a good story are poorly cast.  Studios usually go with the tried and true so as not to take any chances with the box office.  This movie, all the casting was perfect even down to the smallest role.  This is so unlike American movies.  I usually only see balanced casting like this in foreign made films, especially British films.  It was so refreshing to see the American actors in this film not be threatened by the smaller roles played by excellent actors and actresses.

Which brings up another point I want to make.  I didn't realize until I was finished watching this movie that it was a "Woman's Movie."  All the major roles are women!  I loved it.  Not that there weren't some good male roles too but they were minor.

The Academy Award suspense is over-
Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis - Best Actress

And another tip of my hat  to the casting director because she (or he) got the two young male parts just right.  Both of the guys are Southern Eye Candy.  I grew up in the Sixties (not in the South) but My Bill (my partner) is from the South (Georgia).

Bill grew up in the late Twenties and Thirties.  Not the time period of this film but his household also had a black housekeeper who he loved.  When Bill grew up he left home and joined the service.  He was in the service for nine years until he had to leave to take care of his ailing mother.  After her funeral he suggested to his family that they give his mother's old cloths to their former maid.  His sister vehemently protested. I won't repeat what she said but it was as bad as you could imagine.

Bill left Georgia and his family that day and returned home to the North (New Jersey) where he lived at that time. I met him about a year later (1964).  When I met him he said he had no family. It wasn't until many years later that I found out why.  He had cut off communication with his family because of that ugly incident.

He probably won't like me putting this on my blog and I'll probably have to take it out when he reads it but I feel responsible for putting it out there that not all white folks in the South had the attitude towards 'the help" that Hilly had in this movie.  I am proud to say that this is the man I have lived with for the past forty-seven years, a man of character.

Hilly would not have liked him.

8 comments:

  1. I don't think all white Southerners acted like Hilly, but I think the Hilly's outnumbered 'em for sure.

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  2. Bob,

    There are "Hillys" in the North too. They're all over. The South doesn't have a monopoly on them.

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  3. Anonymous8:20 PM

    Ron, I had just heard about the book "The Help" 2 weeks ago and got it from the library. I wondered if the movie would be any good. Now I will see it.
    Lynne

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  4. Lynn,

    The movie is excellent. Bring your handkerchiefs, it's one of those movies that make you laugh and cry at the same time. Tbis is what movies are all about.

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  5. I have been aprehensive about seeing this movie.

    If you really recommend it, I will rent it next weekend when I have the house to myself.

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  6. This sounds amazing, Ron - I must now seek it out.x

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  7. Hula Hank,

    I was also apprehensive about seeing this movie but now I'm glad I did. I saw it twice!

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  8. Elizabeth,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I love a movie that covers the whole range of emotions. Also great acting, story and production values. It is a movie I will remember for a long time.

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