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Uncle Barb's

"I wanted to invent myself as a fictional character. And I did,
and it has caused a great deal of confusion."

- Jeanette Winterson -


The Help

The Help

A nice ensemble piece that was fairly true to the book, The Help has made the short list for Academy Awards. Truthfully it is probably not Oscar material, but I will reserve that judgement once I've compared it to the other contenders.

It is a good solid film with a poignant story and historical perspective, but too much Hallmark flavoring was a real detraction. The music was a significant problem, the crescendoing soundtrack was punctuated by an add-on through the credits by Mary J. Blige, an odd mix that didn't work. There was a not so subtle and awkward implication towards the end of the film about a relationship between two of the main female characters, but it was just so torked as to be kinda pointless.

For all these criticisms, The Help is worth watching. The actors were spot on, the story compelling and the visuals pretty nice. If food didn't play such a major gross factor, I would have enjoyed the food styling too. It certainly made me long for good fried chicken. An enjoyable film with great performances by some of our grand dames Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Allison Janney and Cicely Tyson who brought Constantine to life with her magical talent. The younger and less well known cast members are admirable too.

I will rate it a 4 out of 5. On my scorecard, to receive an Oscar you need a 5.


Viola Davis just won the Critics Choice Award for Best Actress. Her
acceptance speech was a model that others should strive to accomplish.
Now that I have seen a few more of the Oscar contenders, The Help is
looking better. The outstanding performances, as first noted, are the
saving grace. In addition to Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Octavia
gave outstanding performances.


The controversy surrounding this film doesn't diminish the film's accomplishment. I agree, films about black women taking care of white women's children are Hollywood acceptable and therefore actually get produced hogging film time from other important stories. While reading The Help, I was put off by yet another white narrator's version of her own heroics in the realm of civil rights. The film did a much better job of focusing on the African American women. I don't want to appear resigned to "this is the avenue available, so we should take it route" and almost making an excuse for the lack of outrage at yet another "mammy" movie, but in some ways denying the historical reality of these times is something that we should never forget or repeat. 


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