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The Help

Change begins with a whisper 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Tate Taylor 
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer  
An image from The Help

Based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a heart-warming story of the African American maids working in white households during the sixties when segregation and racial subjugation was still prominent.

“Skeeter” (Emma Stone) the white daughter of a cotton farmer returns from college with aspirations of becoming a writer. When she returns to find that the family maid has mysteriously vanished, she decides to expose the truth about how black women were being treated. Naturally, this doesn’t prove easy as no one is willing to talk to her.

However, an unlikely friendship sparks between Skeeter and Abilieen (Viola Davis) - another housemaid who eventually agrees to tell her story. Yet it is only when another maid is put in jail for allegedly stealing a ring, that other housemaids collectively find the courage to risk their jobs and tell the truth about their experiences being “the help”.

Lauren Howard

In this touching and funny adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name, Emma Stone portrays aspiring writer Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan whose interest in the day to day lives of the coloured maids in 1960s America leads to her focusing a book around their stories.

Despite Kathryn Stockett’s novel covering such a serious topic as the black civil rights movement in America, The Help manages to convey the importance of such a theme without losing any of its entertainment value or, most significantly, any of its humour.

This poignant and incredibly engaging film combines wonderful acting, both moving and amusing respectively, from Stone and from the rest of the cast. Its engaging plot and believable characters make this film a truly worthwhile watch.

Jenny Andrews

The Help - the story that no one dared to tell, except one. Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) has an idea, a revolutionary idea that will change her life and that of those around her forever.

The Help beautifully retells the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, confronting the racial inequality within Southern America in the 1960s and a white girl's idea to change this. In a fight between right, wrong, black and white, Skeeter finds herself immersed within two worlds. Her blossoming friendship with Aileen (Viola Davis), her best friend’s maid, is a moving relationship to watch. Two different walks of life united through a common goal.

Full of witty, laugh out loud moments, The Help is a must-watch film. However, the gritty reality is that Skeeter and Aileen’s friendship, their book, and their radical ideas are dangerous. This underlying threat is always evident, making The Help edgy, poignant and deeply profound. Together with a BAFTA award winning actress (Octavia Spencer), the performances make this film heartfelt.

The Help tells the tale of the private lives of the women of Mississippi and their help, bringing to life the racial divide. White children being bought up to feel special by their help, to be their friend, and then growing up to be their employer, is the shocking reality. It is this lifestyle that Skeeter rejects.

Each character’s unique story has their own secrets, problems, hopes and desires, and this is what makes this film special. The Help is wonderfully refreshing. A brilliant drama, with a brilliant story.

Emily Hopkins

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Summer Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Spring Term (digital)
2015/2016 Autumn Term (digital)