THE HELP
2011, Walt Disney Pictures, 146 min, USA, Dir: Tate Taylor

In the summer of 1963, recent college graduate and aspiring author Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson, Mississippi for the summer, only to discover that the friends she left behind (a fire-breathing Bryce Dallas Howard among them) have become malignantly conformist housewives-in-training, with nasty racist opinions suddenly in full swing. Stunned by how the same young girls who were so lovingly raised by black domestics could grow up to be such biggots, Skeeter suddenly realizes the book she wants to write: a collection of interviews with black maids in her community. Particularly hesitant is Abileen Clarke (an excellent Viola Davis), who doesn't want to stir up trouble, but when the racist atmosphere of Jackson reaches a dangerous fever pitch with the assassination of Medgar Evers, she knows her story must be shared at any cost. With an impressive supporting cast including Jessica Chastain as the good-hearted, bottle-blond outsider in town, Octavia Spencer as Abileen's smart-mouthed friend and fellow domestic and Allison Janney as Skeeter's cancer-stricken mother. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Davis) and two for Best Supporting Actress (Spencer and Chastain).


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