THE HELP – One of the biggest and most celebrated films of 2011, The Help tackled a very sensitive societal issue but has given it a very refreshing and clever approach. In terms of the actual genre, it sits between drama and comedy but either way, this film is full of heart. It is brave and powerful. And just like one of the lines used in this film, it is full of courage – courage to tell what is right. I like how this motion picture gave me a chance to see the real drama behind this ‘black vs white’ subject.
More than the amazing and poignant storyline that this film has to offer, The Help boasts a fantastic ensemble – all equally brilliant and fascinating in their respective roles. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer lead a spectacular line-up of award-winning performances. I can see now why Viola, despite her stunning portrayal of Aibileen, did not win the Oscars Best Actress as this is a film of various stories – not just hers. Whilst Davis’ performance is worth of every nomination she got, it wasn’t as strong as Meryl Streep’s solid acting in The Iron Lady. Still kudos to Davis for giving what could be classified as one of the bests last year. Viola may not have won the Academy Award for the lead actress category but her good friend Octavia Spencer definitely raised the roof and swept all the Best Supporting Actress awards – well deserved by the way. Spencer’s acting was so natural, it’ll hit you like a bullet – intense but relaxed. It’s strong and emotional – I actually thought that if she competed for Best Actress, she’d have greater chances. What I couldn’t understand is the fact that most award-giving bodies have ignored Emma Stone’s performance which, in my opinion, was one of the core points of this film. She was like the light of the movie and the force that held it together. Same with Jessica Chastain who was very good, you’d hate her (at least her character) so much. I believe that’s The Help’s strongest element – the acting. Whilst you cannot fault the screenplay and the production value, the acting was exemplary and brings the film to a lot more excellent level. If I am to choose one best scene it was the revelation as to what happened with Constantine. It was a very precious moment and I think that scene alone, easily, deserves the SAG Best Picture award they’ve won.
We need more films like The Help – not only that it is brave and bold in terms of telling the real story behind the issues we didn’t believe to be that bad but also a fantastic venue to showcase amazing talents like the actors and actresses in this film. Very few masterpieces stands out nowadays because of pure genius acting and this is what Hollywood cinema should be all about. No thrills, no frills, no exaggerations, no effects – amazing!