Movie Review/Rant: The Help

August 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” ~Aibileen Clark

People have a lot of things about The Help.  Most of the comments surround the movie adaptation of a book of the same title by Kathryn Stockett.

On one hand you have the reviews of outrage: http://www.thefeministwire.com/2011/08/12/kathryn-stockett-is-not-my-sister-and-i-am-not-her-help/#.TlHRcj1fnb0.facebook

On the other hand, you have the “tell it like it is” reviews: http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/movies/the-help-spans-two-worlds-white-and-black-review.html 

And on the other hand, you have the reviews of most of the women of color in my sphere of influence who say “it was great!, I loved it!, It was a tear-jerker!, and I can relate to _______ (insert character here).

But I have my own thoughts. I read the book. I watched the movie, and I enjoyed them both!  There are times when I adamantly will oppose fiction presented as fact.  Namely, in the teaching of future generations. For instance, telling your 3rd grader that the Holocaust never happened.  However, when it comes to fiction, masked in veils of truth, can I really get mad at how the storyteller chooses to tell the story.

History always has a slant as told by the historian. I am not sure why some intellectuals of color are so outraged that a white woman told the story of black women through the lens of a white woman. That is her experience.  No one will ever be able to tell the story of Aibileen, Minny, Constatine and the other maids of The Help better than the African-American maids of Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s.  Unfortunately, those women did not write a book about their experiences, or maybe they did and I have not had the pleasure of encountering those yet.

My recommendation to everyone is to read the book. Allow yourself to get wrapped up in what is nothing shy of a good story. Go see the movie. Laugh, shed tears, and tremble in fear as you watch the story unfold.  Enjoy this piece of fiction. And if by chance it is based on some truth as Ms. Stockett’s brother’s former maid alleges in the article above, then let that play out in a court of law!

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