I have special news this week. I may have just seen the best movie of the year. In Savannah last weekend, several screenings were sold out — more so than “Harry Potter,” in fact. Most incredible of all is that the film in question is a drama.
“The Help” is the poignant film of which I speak. It’s in theaters now and based upon the bestselling novel of the same name.
Set in Mississippi in the 1960s, the plot unfolds when Skeeter, a bright young college grad, returns home to begin a career in writing. Brought to life by Emma Stone, Skeeter lands her own cleaning advice column but dreams of penning something much more worthwhile.
Inspired partly by Hilly Holbrook, the queen bee of Skeeter’s social circle, and her initiative to require by law that all members of “The Help” use separate bathrooms while in the homes of their employing families, Skeeter decides to write a book in secret from the perspective of downtrodden black maids. What she starts is a domino effect of life-altering friendships and treacherous rivalries.
Many will call “The Help” a chick flick. I believe the lovingly delivered, perfectly plotted tale, which inspires big laughs as well as tears, is so much more than that label. But I say, “Go ahead and call it a chick flick, because powerful performances from women make this movie work. And the female characters leave lasting impressions.”
Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard, gives the best performance of her career, but it is Academy Award-nominated actress Viola Davis who makes this picture a success.
Davis, who always seems to be cast in supporting roles, is easily one of the finest actresses working in Hollywood today. Her character, Aibileen “Aibey,” is the heart and soul of the film. I wish I could know her personally, whether she’s fictitious or not.
I’m a fan!