‘The Help” Exposes Our History

By Shakala Alvaranga–2/3/2012
“The Help” began as a #1 New York Times bestseller turned big screen, and is now one of the top frontrunners to receive an Oscar. Director Tate Taylor gives audience members heartbreak, fear, anger, humor and pride all in one sitting…and successfully might I add.
What seemed to be a movie about Southern-style racism and the hardship that Blacks faced in the Deep South of Jackson, Mississippi, turned into a heartfelt surprise.
The story centers around a woman named Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) who attempts to write a story on a Black maids perspective in the 1960s. When Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) agrees to help out Skeeter, and gets eleven more maids to support her, uncomfortable secrets are revealed.
The emotional rollercoaster leads to some laughter as well, especially by Minny (Octavia Spencer). Minny is as feisty as they come and is not afraid to tell you how she feels…or show you how she feels. As Aibileen’s best friend, she confides in her and also agrees to help Skeeter out.
The film has a talented cast and an original plot line. It brings light to one of the darker periods of our American history. As Taylor moves from one house to another, it seems that a story lies within each household.
The movie is set in the civil rights movement where white woman are constantly taking their insecurities out on their maids. When Skeeter returns home from college and sees her friends’ true colors, she decides to give the hired help a voice. As more and more maids begin to share their story with Skeeter, unlikely friendships emerge. However, when their clandestine project begins to put them all at risk, everyone in the town gets caught up in the story.
These three unforgettable women begin a movement that changes the Mississippi town forever.
The film does not only capture only the Blacks’ troubles. It also does a creative job of showing the plight of Whites whose unloved children and disturbed relationships carry burdens of their own. Taylor does an effective job of showing an inspirational message. “The Help” is a timeless story about how far we have come…and how much farther we still have to go.