Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Help - My Opinion

Last night I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the movie The Help. I saw television previews for it and had decided it was a movie I'd wait to see when it was released on DVD. The previews made me think, "Oh here we go...another po' sad black lady shall overcome story..." Well, it is a po' sad black lady shall overcome story and it is one that should be told.

Everybody has a story and most will never make it to print or the big screen. Most will get passed down through generations and get changed to suit the teller or stop because people are tired of talking about it. Stories like The Help make me think of my ancestors and what if it were me. A movie that's entertaining, gets the point across and makes you think is a winner for me.

The movie The Help is based on the book, The Help, released in February of 2009 by Kathryn Stockett. I didn't read the book and probably won't, but I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The story is set in Mississippi in the 1960's and centers around maids who work in white folks homes. Hey, in the 60's South there weren't many job opportunites for black people, let alone women. A writer, Skeeter (Emma Stone) comes home from college and wants to write a book from the help's point of view. Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minnie (Octavia Spencer) are the maids who get the stories rolling. And boy do the stories roll!

Cicely Tyson has a small role and you know Miss Jane Pittman delivered. The movie is humorous, courageous, poignant, and so very thought-provoking. The Help reminded me of the Color Purple, another story that had to be told. I judged the preview on the we all look alike (somebody said that on the boat so it must be true) (oh, Wanda, bad black girl...('-')assumption. I won't give the story away, but will say if you have a choice to see one good movie this summer and this type of movie is your flavor, check it out.

The audience applauded at the end and was a mix of black women and men, as well as white women and men. Seeing the audience made me realize that the movie wasn't made to degrade black women or show them as less deserving or ignorant, but instead to tell a story that belongs to all of us - history. We've come a long way baby; stories like The Help prove and reiterate the fact that we need to keep on going.

I luv you.


Tracy said...

Wanda, My grandmother was a maid for some fifty years. I don't think the book/movie was made to degrade black women, to me, it is to give the effect that although they were maids it really wasn't that bad. I have not read the book and have no desire to see the movie. I decided after For Colored Girls I was just done with it all. Give me some happy sisters, smart, witty, funny, in love, and doing the darn thing. I mean we are so much more tan somebody's maid, doormat, punching bag, etc.

Truth is, there really is nothing ensightful, poignant, or entertaining about women who worked in the homes of white people 6-7 days a week. Caring for their families and raising their children, leaving little time for their own husbands and kids. I am sure my mom and her siblings still reminisce over the hand-me-downs, leftovers, and stolen moments. Then again, it may have been a good thing because they all strived really hard to ensure that they (the daughters), or their wives (the sons) would never be anybody's maid. I know for me, it was disheartening and very confusing to understand why my grandmother continued to work for those people long after her kids were grown, even when they begged her to quit. We would go to visit during the summer and she was gone all day, off to work. I guess after a while it became all she knew to do.

Perhaps as time went on the attitudes changed, my kids grandmother was a maid up until a few years ago when she could no longer work. But rest assured, in the 60's everything was not coming up roses.

Jahlea said...

Girl, thanks for the heads up! I'm planning on going to see it! I will take my mother as soon as she is finished reading the book! Thanks for this piece!

Sharon Shaye Gray said...

Well Written and I enjoyed your well rounded review. Excellent