THE HELP REVIEW
"You is kind. You is smart. You is important." If only all parents repeated this chant to their children. But in Kathryn Stockett’s debut novel made movie, that mantra was repeatedly stated by none other than a member of “The Help”.
The movie “The Help”, whose shares the same name as the best-selling book, focuses on three primary characters. Aibileen Clark, played with grace by Viola Davis, is a soft-spoken southern maid whose ox-like strength of character saves the white children she cares for from their negligent white parents; Minny Jackson portrayed by the extraordinary Octavia Spencer whose back-talking and no-nonsense approach to white people has continued to cause problems for her and her family; and Skeeter Phelan performed by Emma Stone – who powerfully portrays a character who bucks the trend of southern white women and is willing to see through the lens of racism to document their story – the story of The Help.
The movie is set in the 1960’s in Jackson, Mississippi – a place that will forever be type cast as the central character in the civil rights play that plagued the nation at that time. It centers on the development of a book written, in secret, from the perspective of black maids working in white households. The book can only be drafted with the help of a sympathetic southern debutant turned reluctant activist.
Coming from the “book is always better than the movie” club, this movie follows that premise falling short of the profound best seller. Still, the movie’s approach to the story is successful when crafting powerful characters played by remarkable actors. I loved the film and would highly recommend it.
There are many large themes that are well documented. But as a parent, one of those lessons should be baked in a pie for all of us to consume – those who have read the book, know what I am talking about.
The central ingredient: Racism. Although it shouldn’t be tolerated – it should be addressed. Parents should educate their children on the dark shadow of racism and how it has affected the world, our country, and even the schools that our kids attend today. It remains a dividing factor on our playground and in our politics. Parents should educate their kids on this important subject and have a NO TOLERENCE rule in their household. That goes for jokes, slurs, or judgments with racial undertones, overtones, or anytones.
Perhaps “The Help” can cast a dream for the world where each of us sees our neighbor with this vision “You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important.”