The Help

August 10th, 2011

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The Help

Still of Allison Janney and Emma Stone in The HelpStill of Allison Janney, Emma Stone and Roslyn Ruff in The HelpRachael Harris at event of The HelpStill of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer in The HelpStill of Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain in The HelpStill of Sissy Spacek, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer in The Help

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 8.0/10 (61,911 voted)

Critic's Score: 62/100

Director: Tate Taylor

Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer

Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up -- to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter's life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories -- and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly -- and unwillingly -- caught up in the changing times.

Writers: Tate Taylor, Kathryn Stockett

Emma Stone - Skeeter Phelan
Viola Davis - Aibileen Clark
Bryce Dallas Howard - Hilly Holbrook
Octavia Spencer - Minny Jackson
Jessica Chastain - Celia Foote
Ahna O'Reilly - Elizabeth Leefolt
Allison Janney - Charlotte Phelan
Anna Camp - Jolene French
Eleanor Henry - Mae Mobley
Emma Henry - Mae Mobley
Chris Lowell - Stuart Whitworth
Cicely Tyson - Constantine Jefferson
Mike Vogel - Johnny Foote
Sissy Spacek - Missus Walters
Brian Kerwin - Robert Phelan

Taglines: Change begins with a whisper.


Official Website: Dreamworks [United States] | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 10 August 2011

Filming Locations: Greenwood, Mississippi, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $26,044,590 (USA) (14 August 2011) (2534 Screens)

Gross: $169,672,061 (USA) (19 February 2012)

Technical Specs

Runtime: USA:

Did You Know?

Allison Janney and Brian Kerwin are married in this film. In The West Wing Janney's character dated a park ranger played by Kerwin.

Anachronisms: The first act is set in 1963, but in a few early scenes a 1964 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight convertible can be seen in the background.

[first lines]
Aibileen Clark: I was born 1911, Chicksaw County, Piedmont Plantation.
Woman: And did you know as a girl growing up that one day you'd be a maid?
Aibileen Clark: Yes ma'am, I did.
Woman: And you knew that because...
Aibileen Clark: My mama was a maid. My grandmama was a house slave.
Woman: [whispering as she writes down] "house slave..." Did you ever dream of being something else?
Aibileen Clark: [nods yes]
Woman: What does it feel like to raise a white child when your own child's at home being looked after by somebody else?

User Review

See this film

Rating: 10/10

I just returned from seeing a special preview of "The Help," which is due out in theaters this summer.

Okay, so here's the truth: I'm a middle-aged, white male... I didn't read the book and I assumed, based on the fact that this is a virtually an all-female cast, that this was some sort of chick flick. Boy, was I wrong!

This is an incredible film that not only pays justice to the bestseller on which it's based (according to those who have read the book AND seen the film), but is phenomenally cast, with exceptional performances by Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard and Allison Janney. Veteran actresses Sissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson also deliver incredible performances. While Tyson's character is central to the storyline, her role comprises what seems to be a few, precious minutes of the 2:20 running time, she delivers, in my opinion, one of the most powerful and moving moments in the in which she doesn't even utter a line (trust me, you'll know when you see it.)

The Help also delivers some very funny moments and will make you laugh. I'll go so far as to say that this film and a few of its cast members will draw some Oscar nominations. I certainly think this takes Stone into a whole new level.

The racial imbalances of 1963 are well illustrated in "The Help," and will, no doubt, underscore how far America has come, as well as how little progress we've made in the last 50 years. Either way, this is a powerful movie that needs to be seen on the big screen as soon as you can get a ticket.

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