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) dryly referring to the matronly duties she and other black maids carried out during that period. Set in early-1960s Jackson, Mississippi, Tate Taylor's adaptation of his friend Kathryn Stockett's novel is a well-balanced comedy with heart-warming drama that tackles racism without being too preachy. Recent college grad Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns home to Jackson. She dreams of being a writer but initially settles on a job as a columnist. While researching an assignment, she's fascinated by the stories Aibileen has to tell about the daily abuses endured by black maids, and decides to record them in a book. She convinces others, including Aibileen's best friend Minny (Octavia Spencer) to spill the beans. At first they're reluctant, but soon realise that people need to know about the rampant discrimination that exists. A stellar cast brings out the poignant storytelling. Although Stone nails the modern woman determined-to-change-the-world character, it's Spencer's adorable Minny who doles out the laughs. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe, but above all, you'll revel at the talent Jackson has given the worlds of fiction and film, and leave the cinema a changed person.