And so the 84th Annual Academy Awards have come and gone. The ceremony was one of the best in a few years. (To be fair, it was significantly better than last year’s debacle, so we can’t complain too much.) There’s little I can add to the conversation, so I’m keeping this post brief. Just like the telecast itself.
There were many things I loved: Martin Scorsese’s bored pre-teen daughter, Octavia Spencer’s emotions, a skit by Christopher Guest and company, spotting A.R. Rahman in Pharrell and Hans Zimmer’s Totally Awesome Oscars Balcony Band, Angelina Jolie’s inexplicable need to flaunt her right leg, and…
Adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel, one of the most enjoyable I books have read recently, The Help hits theaters in August. The trailer hit the internet yesterday.
Set in early-1960s Mississippi, the film stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, a recent college graduate who returns to her hometown. She becomes aware of how her childhood friends treat their African-American maids when one Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard) wants to create a law that requires “the help” to use separate, outdoors bathrooms. Skeeter teams up with two maids, beleaguered Aibileen (Viola Davis) and trouble-maker Minny (Octavia Spencer), to rock the system in the form of a newspaper column.
It is a great story set against the backdrop of the more violent moments of the Civil Rights Movement (Medgar Evers murder is one of the many events that has a significant role in the novel). The unexpected relationship that develops between Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny carries the book. The women portraying these characters are dynamic performers, capable carrying a film. But I am hoping that The Help is not the next The Secret Life of Bees. (Sorry Queen Latifah but you are no Viola Davis.) I am also hoping that Emma Stone’s bad fake perm grows on me.