57 – The Help (2011)

Standard

Director: Tate Taylor Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Alison Janney Running time: 146 mins

Subject: Jackson, Mississippi, the early ’60s, bad place for a black maid like Aibileen (Davis), good place for a writer like Skeeter (Stone) to find a story worth telling.  Racial politics are babied by bizarre decision to shoot in confectionary colours. Bright greens, pinks and blues sing, “this is la la land” while Hilly (Howard), a caricature of  a bigot, deliberately humiliates her black help wherever possible. Subtler depictions of the social tensions come from Skeeter’s mother, Charlotte (Janney), and Jessica Chastain is divine as a tart with a heart.

Like: Candy-covered racism.

Core truth: Silly handling of important subject with the odd good scene offered by one of the damn fine cast.

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