OK for kids 12+
Poignant, thought-provoking Civil Rights tale.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this emotionally intense adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling Civil Rights-era novel isn't likely to appeal to young kids but is a historically relevant drama that mature tweens and teens can see with their parents. The film not only teaches about segregation and the importance of racial equality, but it also shows how oppressed people have important stories to tell. The language is tame for a PG-13 movie except for the word "s--t," which is used several times, and one casual use of the "N" word by a bus driver. African Americans are referred to as "negro," and a grown-up restaurant worker is called "boy" by white patrons. There's no graphic violence, but a character is obviously physically abused by her husband, and a woman has a miscarriage, leaving her in a pool of her blood. Reflecting the '60s setting, almost everyone (even a pregnant woman) smokes cigarettes and drinks.
- Families can talk about how the movie depicts African Americans' struggle for racial equality. How accurate do you think it is? How could you find out more about this part of history?
- Are the characters realistic? Do you consider any of them to be stereotypes? If so, why?
- Some have criticized Stockett's story for making a white character central to the Civil Rights movement. How is the movie sensitive to this issue? What did you learn about the South under Jim Crow laws?
- For those who've read the book, how faithful is the movie adaptation? What changes did you like? What do you wish the director had included?
The good stuff
Messages: The movie doesn't sugarcoat the difficulties of being African American in Jim Crow Mississippi, but there are positive messages about how the '60s were a revolutionary time for Civil Rights, even as so many had to die to achieve it. Through Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny's partnership, the idea that a member of the "elite" class can find common ground with disenfranchised African-American servants is critical to the movie, even if it was improbable in real life.
Role models: Skeeter starts her book project because she wants to be published, but as she gets to know Aibileen and Minny, she realizes that her book is an important exercise in getting disenfranchised voices heard. Aibileen and Minny bravely, carefully buck the Southern system of Jim Crow to share their stories with Skeeter. Aibileen teaches the little girl in her care to be self-confident and loving. Skeeter suffers the consequences of her actions but realizes it was for the best. Skeeter's mom has a change of heart about the way she treated their family housekeeper. Celia sees Minny as an equal and actually befriends her, and Minny helps save Celia from misery.
What to watch for
Violence: Minny is domestically abused; it happens off-camera, but viewers do see her with bruises on her face. The assassination of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers is a key moment in the film; President Kennedy's assassination is also discussed. In a disturbing scene, a character suffers a miscarriage and is shown sitting in a small pool of blood. A police officer is rough with an African-American woman he arrests (and her friends), even hitting her in the head with his night stick. Parents sensitive to physical discipline should know that a parent spanks her child for a minor "mistake." A mother recounts how her son was basically left for dead by his white employers; another woman explains how she was threatened at gun point. The maids seem genuinely fearful of white men, whom they know could kill them without any repercussions.
Sex: For the first half of the movie, there's virtually no sexuality (except for the occasional presence of Celia, who wears form-fitting outfits and has considerable cleavage). In the second half, Skeeter goes on a date that turns into her first serious relationship, although she and her boyfriend only kiss and hold hands. A woman's history of multiple miscarriages is discussed; she and her husband are depicted as playful and flirty. Other married couples embrace and dance at a holiday gala.
Language: The word "s--t" is of prominent importance to the storyline and is said several times throughout the movie. Other language includes "damn," "hell," "jackass," "a--hole," "goddamn," "oh my God," and the "N" word, which is used once, in a casual, matter-of-fact way: "Some n---er just got shot, now y'all got to get off the bus." Hilly often pronounces the words "negro" and "negra" in a way that sounds like "niggra." Other insults used toward the help include "thievin'," "sass-mouthin'," and "no-good."
Consumerism: Coca-Cola is shown a couple of times, as is a Piggly Wiggly supermarket.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Accurately for the '60s setting, almost everyone in the movie (even a pregnant character) smokes. One character orders drink after drink on a blind date. A woman gets drunk at a party and accidentally rips her social rival's sleeve; she then throws up on her adversary's party gown.
Fan Reviews provided by
The Help by Lunchmovie
Loved it...I actually laughed out loud at times and wiped a tear at others...a definite must see...gather up a few girlfriends and make it a all girls day
The Help by PNCGirl02
Best Movie that has been out in a LOOOOOONG time. Good story telling, no foul language, no nudity, good for all ages. GREAT acting by all involved. Will be buying the DVD as soon as it is available.
The entire theater was filled to capacity for this movie...that should tell you something!
The Good, the Bad, and the Nasty! by Bayou Beauty 33
This is a must see for the young and old! It will make you laugh, make you cry, and inspire you to have the desire to make a difference. The Help sparked mixed emotions throughout the entire movie which was a great experience! I loved it! It was kind; it was smart; it was important!
Help Yourself! by foodstar
Whatever happened to great movies? Where are the great stories? The rich production values? The jaw dropping impeccable performances of actors who transcend the script? Up until yesterday they were relegated to tinsel town's movie history. . . and now. . . with THE HELP, blossomed into an awesome, multi-sensory, all encompassing re-capture of the very very best of Hollywood. Be prepared for this "E" Ticket ride into the telling of this amazing story - you don't want to miss this. Be sure to see it on the BIG screen . . . THE HELP stretches into every corner of the screen with incredible lush detail. It's the finest and best movie experience in years.
Good Movie by Film_Seeker
I really enjoyed this film. I thought Emma Stone and Viola Davis were fantastic! Bryce Dallas Howard did such a good job at making me hate her character. What a potrayal of such a horrible person! I can go on about how well the cast did, but I will just stick to one simple sentence: What a great movie.
The Help by DarlaKriehn
My husband and I both enjoyed the movie. This is a sad reminder how things were and how we need to treat everyone as God's children.
See it by ZTokumoto
I liked this movie, it really makes you think about the past and how people used to treat other people just because of the color of there skin, this movie is a tear jerker and is really very sad but if you want to get a look at how people used to be treated I would suggest watching it.
Laugh out loud and Cry by DiannaLT
I enjoyed this movie, but LOVED the book. Both it made me laugh out loud and cry. My 14 year old daughter still cannot decide whether she liked the movie or not... she was definitely touched by the story and cried more than she laughed.
The Help by Movienutts
This has got to be the best movie of the year. Well writen and well directed. This movie makes you feel what it is like to live during this period of time. You feel like you really get to know the characters and feel what they're feeling. The movie draws you in and never lets you go until the very end.