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The Help [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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The #1 New York Times bestseller by Kathryn Stockett comes to vivid life through the powerful performances of a phenomenal ensemble cast. Led by Emma Stone, Academy Award®-nominated Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress, Doubt, 2008), Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. Filled with poignancy, humor and hope — and complete with compelling, never-before-seen bonus features — The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant story about the ability to create change.
Audio languages: English, Italian, Spanish, Audio Described English
- The Making of The Help: From Friendship to Film
- In Their Own Words: A Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi
- Deleted Scenes with introductions by director Tate Taylor - A Senator’s Son; Humiliated; Johnny’s Home; A Book about Jackson; Keep on Walkin’
- “The Living Proof” Music Video
There are male viewers who will enjoy The Help, but Mississippi native Tate Taylor aims his adaptation squarely at the female readers who made Kathryn Stockett's novel a bestseller. If the multi-character narrative revolves around race relations in the Kennedy-era South, the perspective belongs to the women. Veteran maid Aibileen (Doubt's Viola Davis in an Oscar-worthy performance) provides the heartfelt narration that brackets the story. A widow devastated by the death of her son, she takes pride in the 17 children she has helped to raise, but she's hardly fulfilled. That changes when Skeeter (Easy A's Emma Stone) returns home after college. Unlike her peers, Skeeter wants to work, so she gets a job as a newspaper columnist. But she really longs to write about Jackson's domestics, so she meets with Aibileen in secret--after much cajoling and the promise of anonymity. When Aibileen's smart-mouthed friend Minny (breakout star Octavia Spencer) breaches her uptight employer's protocol, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) gives her the boot, and she ends up in the employ of local outcast Celia (Jessica Chastain, hilarious and heartbreaking), who can't catch a break due to her dirt-poor origins. After the murder of Medgar Evers, even more maids, Minny among them, bring their stories to Skeeter, leading to a book that scandalizes the town--in a good way. Not since Steel Magnolias has Hollywood produced a Southern woman's picture more likely to produce buckets of tears (and almost as many laughs). --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I was pleasantly surprised. The film is a well-constructed piece that remains loyal to Stockett's text and demonstrates the fear, discrimination and seething hatred that seems to have been so apparent during the 1960's of KKK riddled Jackson, Mississippi in a clear and poignant way. In contrast to other reviewers critiques, I did not find the film overly sentimental or sappy by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Tate Taylor is to be credited for the realism he has managed to instill in the direction and in the screenplay, which he adopted from Stockett's text. For me, there were several outstanding performances, especially Octavia Spencer as outspoken Minny Jackson, the maid who rises above her many unfortunate choices in employer.
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Not many films come along these days that truly move you. I'd heard whisperings about this film, saw it had some recognition at the Oscars, but didn't really hear what it was about. It's one of those topics that could be heavy going and very contentious. This film canters along letting the story unwind effortlessly, drawing us in to characters we come to know without the usual setting-out that seems to take up the first hour of every movie these days.
The story you probably already know; it's 1960s America, and in Jackson, Mississippi, it is rife with unashamed racism. Killings in the street are commonplace, and the black community are treated with contempt and disgust. A young lady (Skeeter/Eugenia - Emma Stone) returns to her home to pursue a writing career, having graduated from Ole Miss university. Things have changed; her mother has cancer, and her black maid Constantine, who practically raised her and worked for the family for years, has left without saying goodbye. Skeeter obtains a job at the local newspaper and is happy to accept whatever is going - pretending to be a usual well-known columnist giving domestic advice, such as cleaning, cooking etc. Skeeter is not like most of the other Jackson residents; she is not affected by racist views and positively adored her household's maid Constantine, so she seeks some advice from one of 'the help', Aibeline. Aibeline is the maid for her old friend Hilly Holbrook, who is the leader of the next round of young housewives raising their families in Jackson, and a nasty piece of work.Read more ›
In the film, a strong cast of actors bring to life the key characters in the book. Aibileen is the narrator, compassionate and shrewd beneath her subservient air, until writing about her experiences as a general dogsbody and nanny for a succession of white children finally releases her into a sense of freedom. Then there is Minnie, a brilliant cook, but unable to hold down a job because of her feisty talk - yet she allows herself to be beaten by her drunken husband. The villain of the piece is the ghastly, control-freak Hilly, who rules her simpering white "friends" with a rod of iron, with the power to destroy the livelihoods of black servants (not merely her own!) who displease her.
The film version of "The Help" is true to the essentials of the original in that it is a chastening reminder of the casual prejudice of the American South as recently as the 1960s, and is often very moving, yet the poignancy is leavened with a good deal of humour. In view of the complexity of the book's plot, it has been necessary to leave out or compress many details - thankfully not the scene of Minnie trying to hoover the dust off a huge stuffed grizzly bear in an old colonial house. These omissions tend to be disappointing if you have read the book before seeing the film. In particular, I would have liked more of the very moving tales which the maids have to tell.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This item arrived within the time frame given and is as expectedPublished 14 days ago by Stuart Tandy-Gates
I think the book captured a lot more of the complexities of the era, apart from that this is a great film. It's funny and very moving.Published 17 days ago by A W.
Recommended by a friend, it's okay but I struggled to understand the dialogue with heavy accentsPublished 24 days ago by nonver