Man . . . White people LOVE The Help. I mean, I am sure some folks of Color also like the movie, but White folks are perhaps more kookoo for cocoa puffs over this movie as they were for The Blind Side.
And since the film has recently been released on DVD and is likely to be on a few Christmas lists, I thought I would offer my thoughts.
For a while I was overtly critical of The Help, but I hadn’t even seen the film, and I don’t think that’s too fair, so (like with the recent Breaking Dawn extravaganza), I saw The Help so that I could offer some critical analysis.
Now, my objections started before I even saw the film based on the author and her process. As a white woman, she did not overtly consult any women of color in the writing process, something I find extremely problematic considering she is trying (from a white perspective) to write from the perspective of black women in the 1960s. Further, she allegedly based one of her main characters (and presumably many of the others) on observation of her brother’s black maid and is now being sued for doing so.
If that is even remotely true, there is a tremendous irony considering that the main character, “Skeeter,” shares her profits from the book with the women who helped her create the book, yet Stockett has thus far refused to do so. Stockett even justifies herself! “‘Southern women wear guilt like a piece of clothing we can’t do without. I don’t think I’ve apologized…for being White, but I very much have an apology on the tip of my tongue…whenever I think about what I’ve done. That I have written in in the voice of, really, our housekeeper Demetrie and that Ive tried to step into her shoes and imagine what she must’ve been feeling all those years. On one hand, i want to apologize for doing that and being so presumptive, but gosh, it’s so important that we do this in whatever manner.”
However, in the face of all this, I wanted to give the film a fair shake, so I went to see it.
For 146 minutes, I felt like I was taking crazy pills.