When aspiring writer Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan finds herself now the writer for a housekeeping column she needs to find some material that will get her noticed by big publishers so she finds what she needs in the maids her society uses.
Film Making 24/25
Bonus Features 10/25
The Help is all about those individuals who have been, generation after generation catering to the household needs of the upper class of Mississippi. Skeeter takes a job at a local newspaper after returning home from college, the job is a column that gives advice about house cleaning and other “homemaker hints”.
Eugenia, played by Emma Stone, has loftier notions of her career and after seeing from a different perspective while away at college she wants to write about the help. Her view of the maids and racism in general has been altered when she finds out the maid that basically raised her from a baby has been fired instead of retired.
After several incidents with the maids and racism such as a proposed bill one of the local wives wants to put into law requiring separate bathrooms for people of color Skeeter wants desperately to write her book. She needs the maids to help her as she wants to tell in their words their life and raising the children of white rich people.
As you can expect the book brings racism and class issues to the forefront which is what Skeeter wants but the majority of Mississippi wants to keep things status quo. Skeeters book The Help has a few startling events within its covers but one keeps the main opponent of the book at bay when she recognizes herself as one of the racist homeowners who treats their help more like slaves.
In 1960’s Mississippi the maids were the ones raising the kids while the women running the households did what they wanted, usually plotting and planning in their own way. The proposed bill is a step backward in racial tensions and Skeeter uses this as her main motivation to write the book and expose the truth behind the maids work.
Many of the individual events of the film are made up but the general theme of how the maids were treated and the rampant racism of the south is spot on and very real. The writer of the book The Help Kathryn Stockett used real stories from maids and past maids that the author knew to write the book which the film is based on.
The Help has all the elements that require a great film; excellent acting, a believable and heartfelt story as well as more than a few funny moments. The Help has a great plot that follows so closely to real events that it is totally believable that things in the film really did occur.
The Help has some great video and audio with vibrant colors and well done details that are clear for a well-made film and Blu-ray release. Skin tones are nice with great color and people look like real people wrinkles and blemishes included.
The film looks really great and as a testament to many films there was a great reduction in the use of makeup and alterations to the film itself to create a good looking movie. Audio is also great with good surround from the DTS-HD Master Audio track that comes on the Blu-ray edition that is a surprise for a more people oriented drama.
You can hear the loud clicks of the crickets in various speakers and other really good environmental sounds creeping in here and there throughout the film. You get a real sense of being in the Deep South throughout the film with its great use of audio effects and surround sound from various speakers.
The films quality overall on Blu-ray is fantastic and about as good as your going to get even though a few times there is some distortion and technical problems. The film looks great and sounds wonderful with a real nod toward the times as well, several elements of the film including the toned down makeup and 1960’s look makes it great.
Bonus content is a bit light with behind the scenes talk with cast and crew as well as a look at conversations with several of the maids who inspired the film and book. The bonus content really only has the two pieces that are worthwhile and at 23 minutes and 12 minutes there is at least something.
Bonus features are light but worth a look, I would have liked much more in the way of extras but what is here is worth a look. The Help is one of those rare films that captures the essence and important ideas behind the racism of 1960’s America but does not delve so deep that it is only about racism.
No matter if you believe the films like this are a testament to how we are trying to get rid of racism or it perpetuates racism just by showing us how it happened doesn’t matter here. Great performances with the right amount of comedy and a look at our past whether good or bad is what makes this film great.
I have to fully recommend The Help for what it is, a great film with excellent video and audio in Blu-ray even if extras are a bit too light.
The Help Website