The Help (2011)

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player




The Help is a beautiful story about the strength of women, and especially the strength of black women in the South during the 1960s. This heart-felt tale of heroism is both comedic and poignant. However, due to both inconsistent acting and directing this film falls just short of greatness.

Viola Davis carries the real soul of the film. As probably the best onscreen crier there is, (see Doubt and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) she plays great heart-breaking scenes with intense sadness and finally gets a meaty role to show off her talent. Meanwhile, Octavia Spencer, Sissy Spacek, and Jessica Chastain deliver amazing supporting performances. Possibly the best scenes in the film are those carried out between Spencer and Chastain. Seeing Octavia Spencer's sass collide with Jessica Chastain's ditz is sheer tender and comedic delight. On the other hand, as much as I like Allison Janning and Emma Stone, these two deliver unfortunately awkward scenes. This could be due to a combination of them each trying too hard to commit to Southern accents and their delivery of occasionally forced comedic lines. The almost campy acting by some of the other supporting cast detracts from the seriousness of the film as well, and is surely due to a lack of sophistication in direction. Despite its flaws, The Help remains one of the more entertaining and moving films of the year.