I know I complain a lot about movies that are based off books, but in all honesty, if they hadn’t made a film version of The Help, I probably would have never known that the book existed. So I saw the film first and then read the book, and to be honest, I love them both. Of course, there will always be parts of a book that they just can’t include in a movie for one reason or another, and that did happen here too. But the film version is a really good adaptation of the book and I strongly recommend watching it after you finish the book first, of course. 😉
The Help is a novel by Kathryn Stockett, published in 2009. There are many different characters, but it has a primary focus on three women living in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60s: Aibileen and Minnie, who are two Black maids, and Skeeter, a young White woman who is a recent college graduate. These are the three most likable characters in the novel too, in my opinion. *Almost* everyone else is a complete garbage bag. When Skeeter comes back home after graduating college, all the girls she grew up with are married and have kids of their own and basically do nothing with their lives but have little social events here and there. And they’re all awful and bully Skeeter because she chose to get an education instead of doing what was considered socially acceptable. This I relate to on a personal level. But we’ll save that for another day.
And yeah, Skeeter’s situation sucks, but she’s still privileged enough that she isn’t dealing with all the crap that Minnie and Aibileen are. Aibileen is a nanny to a little girl whose mother won’t give her the time of day and Minnie is constantly verbally berated and belittled by her employer, one of Skeeter’s former friends and the main villain of the novel, Hilly Holbrook. (Minnie’s revenge story is probably my favorite revenge story of all time.)
Through a series of unfortunate events and realization of how racist and gross all the White people in her hometown are, Skeeter comes up with the idea to interview and publish the stories of the maids of Jackson, Mississippi. And it’s so exhilarating to see the maids get to tell their sides of the story.
Don’t blow up my email making excuses about how it was a different time back then. If you’re a racist garbage bag, you’re a racist garbage bag. I don’t care what year it is or where you live. There are no excuses to be made.
Fun fact, Stockett actually was thinking of Octavia Spencer when she wrote Minnie’s character, and that’s who ended up playing her in the film adaptation. And I love Octavia Spencer, so this was just a huge bonus for me. Actually, I kind of love all the actresses in this film. Just see it, it’s a really good film adaptation.