The Help (Film)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 September, 2011, 12:00am

Set at a time when racial tensions were sky high in the United States, the opening voiceover of The Help speaks volumes. 'Looking after white babies is what I do,' says Aibileen (Viola Davis), referring to the duties she and other black maids carried out during that period.

Set in the early 1960s, Tate Taylor's adaptation of his friend Kathryn Stockett's novel is a well-balanced, heart-warming comedy that tackles racism without being too preachy.

Recent college graduate Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson, Mississippi. She dreams of being a writer. While researching for an assignment, she's fascinated by the stories Aibileen has to tell about the abuse faced by black maids, and decides to write about it. She convinces others, including Aibileen's best friend Minny (Octavia Spencer), to spill the beans. At first, they're reluctant, but they soon realise that people need to know about the rampant discrimination that exists.

A stellar cast does justice to the poignant story. Although Stone nails the woman-determined-to-change-the-world character, it's Spencer's adorable Minny who brings the laughs.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe, but you are likely to leave the cinema a changed person.