As soon as you mention the civil rights movement and African American’s struggle in the 60s with racial discrimination… Black people pipe up, inject some swagger into their walk and throw their fists in the air… and White people run for cover pretending they misheard the question! Basically racism is a hardcore subject where even I lose the will at times! Dr Martin Luther who now?! :) So going to the cinema with my fine friend who happens to be White to watch ‘The Help’ was going to be interesting… especially as that very same day we were having a debate/fight/competition in who in history had it worse… Irish or Black people (nobody won because the conversation was fucking ridiculous and pretty sure it would have ended in tears!) but also the pair of us looked like a piss poor ad campaign for the United Colours of Benetton! “Ebony and ivory…” But I digress…
The movie is based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett brought to the screen by director Tate Taylor. The basic plot for this movie focuses on a group of Black maids working in various households of White middle class folk in 1960s southern America, and the daily hardships they went through. Then comes along a young aspiring female White writer called Skeeter, who hopes to break into the publishing world with something new, inspiring and innovative. This Skeeter chick is unconventional and staggeringly different compared to her bitchy racist friends, as she sympathises with the Black maids and treats them like actual people instead of complete garbage. As she notices the poor treatment of one of the maids Aibileen and her friend Minny, she decides to write a controversial book from the maid’s point of view naming and shaming these so called god fearing White families. So cue scandal and drama with catastrophic outcomes for all involved! Awesome.
With this brief synopsis in mind, you know right away that the film is not going to be super comfortable to watch. In short… I cried like a bitch! My emotions were off the scale as I laughed, I raged… and I cried into my scarf some more! My friend who pre-warned me that she would be bawling throughout sat there silently (yes I understand cinemas are silent but that's not my point!)… so I secretly think she is a racist and hates Black people! Yes ALL Black people! ;p
The film is extremely heart-warming in parts and almost makes you puff out your chest with a belief that good conquers evil… but just when you have regained your composure and feel like justice is being served, you get smashed back down into spiralling depression! However I did like this aspect to a certain extent. I mean I wasn’t a fan of the headache brought on by myself from crying so damn much or how I thought every White person in the cinema was judging me (they weren’t. I was just being Black and angry!) but simply because the movie didn’t turn this great story into some bullshit Disney fairy-tale ending. The civil rights movement was no fucking fairy-tale.
Shit things happen… and a whole heap of shitness went on in the 60s for Black folks. For me being a Black person, it is hard to swallow and leaves me really pissed off mainly because some of the same shit is going on today…. But for me to tackle that right now would be looooong and it’s Friday so all I’m dreaming about right now is a cold pint of cider!
‘The Help’ is a really great movie and I totes recommend it! It’s not as emotionally insane like ‘The Colour Purple’ or ‘Amistad’ to name but a few prolific Black interest movies, so younger kids can watch without asking too many awkward questions… and complete wimps like myself can leave the cinema without feeling horrifically emotionally abused! ‘The Help’ also doesn’t portray all White folk as complete arseholes so you have a fairly balanced view on the whole situation. I'm all for equality me! If you haven’t seen it already… then go damn it and educate yourself on something that isn’t a shit remake of an 80s movie in fecking 3D.