It’s rare that I watch a film and want to hurt the cast but I deeply disliked about 60% of the characters in The Help and wanted to punch about 20% of them in the face. The Oscar winning 2011 film tells the story of disenfranchised maids living in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) returns from college with the world at her feet but realises that her family and friends expect very specific things of her. She is to act and dress in a certain way, not think too hard and settle down with a husband as soon as possible. Skeeter goes against what is expected and gets a job at the local paper. Desperate for something worthwhile to write about she asks her friend’s maid Aibileen (Viola Davis) if she can write about life from the help’s perspective. Although weary at first, Aibileen soon opens up to Skeeter and soon fellow maid Minny (Octavia Spencer) is telling her story too.
I never saw The Help on its initial release and is in fact a rare example of a recent Best Picture candidate I’ve missed. Something about the movie didn’t appeal to me and my early hatred of the bad guy characters coupled with finding Emma Stone’s character annoying got me off to a bad start. By the end though I was wishing the film wouldn’t end and would have watched another act. I grew to respect and love certain characters but still want to punch others and the story is a remarkable example of bravery, courage and setting right what is wrong.