"The Help" Movie Review

BY: REBECCA ARKWRIGHT, Staff Writer

BETHANY, W.V.--Have you ever come across a movie that you knew you wanted to see but never actually got around to see it? Well, I would highly recommend that you watch “The Help.”

 How do I even begin this one....

The title itself (in my opinion) has more than one meaning that can be taken away from it after watching this movie. This movie is one of the most heartfelt movies I've watched to date. You get to see how the world works from a different point of view, that of black maids working for wealthy white families in the south. Among these maids we meet Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) who tells her story with "The Help" of a young white female writer who isn't afraid to write about things that others are too afraid to discuss or what some people would think is the improper thing to be writing about.

We meet Aibileen as she tells us about how these woman don't just clean houses and do laundry, but how they become surrogate mothers to these white families’ children. When the mothers are off planning tea parties and fundraiser events, these black woman are at home teaching the life lessons, nurturing them, building their confidence, and giving them the attention and love that their mothers are not. These woman sometimes spend more time with these white children than they do with their own children at home.

In the movie, Aibileen is currently working for a woman who doesn't seem to take any interest in her daughter because her toddler is having a hard time "fitting" the image of what a proper southern little girl should be. This can be attributed to the fact that she is a little overweight and that she is having quite a difficult time transitioning between diapers and potty training. Aibileen also suspects that her mother is suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to her. These are all the things that people may know about but would never dare speak of.

We get the truth behind how they are discriminated against. We walk hand in hand with them as they share the neglect, abuse, and downright intolerable events that they were objected to. They are a core part of these families’ lives and yet are treated like dogs. One of the biggest examples that portrays this aspect of abuse in the movie is the fact that the maids are not allowed to use the household bathroom.  The white families need to build restrooms outside for them to use. The maids work hard for very little pay and are taught to keep their eyes down and mouths shut...why? Because they are of a different color and have no right to have their opinions heard. If you do speak up, you fear the unholy repercussions of those words. Whether that's being fired, or threatened to be beat or killed. Fortunately we are able to see that this treatment isn't the same across the board. Some families are good to "The Help."

As I'm watching this movie, it’s hard to believe that we can treat other humans this way, but then all I have to do is look out my window and see for myself that in reality some things haven’t changed at all. We still live in a world where we still can't find it in our hearts and minds that we are all one race...the human race. It's easy to be able to separate yourself from a movie because after all it’s just a movie.  When you actually let the meaning reach you, that's when you are able to understand that some things aren't told for entertainment, they are told to give voice to the silence.

I knew from the beginning that this movie was going to bring me to tears eventually, and I wasn't wrong. Viola Davis brings her character to life. You can see how much she put into this movie by the way she tells her character’s side. Aibileen tells you the story of how her son died and you are left sitting there thinking that people aren't really that cruel....but the painful truth is that, yes, they are.

This movie gives voice to the unspoken for, the silenced, and the degraded.  I strongly recommend that you watch “The Help” so that you can be humbled by it. It may bring some understanding into your life by seeing things through others’ eyes, especially in a time with the ever-growing hate.

 

   ~There is truth all around us...you just have to be brave enough to open your eyes~ 

 

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