First of all, before I get all wound up, you gotta see this. Make sure you watch 1:55 as well.
I hope someone sends that to YouTube-loving Ellen DeGeneres and she gets them on the show. (Does anyone else worry about things that absolutely have nothing to do with you? If you have a problem you’d like me to obsess over, just shoot me an email…)
So, you need to go see The Help. If you haven’t read it, do that. But go see it Like this week. If you don’t see it in the theater, you are going to miss a cool part of the movie experience.There is some language in the movie, but honestly, aside from one scene early on, that didn’t bother me. I would not let that stop me from watching it. I would want my teenage students to see this.
Thoughts on this movie:
a. Lived up to the hype. Every time someone told me the movie was wonderful, I was just like, “Earmuffs! Quit talking! Nahnahnah can’t hear you!” Because when people build a movie up, then…it never lives up to it. I was not disappointed.
b. Wonderful book adaptation. Good job, screenwriter and Hollywood.
c. Beautiful costumes
d. Viola Davis. If that woman doesn’t win an Academy Award, I will eat a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s in a bitter rage. (And this is different from most days because…?) Viola first caught my attention in the movie Doubt, starring Meryl Streep. She just becomes the character. There is no point at which Viola stops and the character starts. They are one and the same. And in both films, Viola snot cries. There is little that grosses me out, but snot will do it every time. But when I saw her totally raw and crying in Doubt, snot abounding, I just sat in that theater and thought, “Wow. Now that’s going for it.” She is the most authentic thing to hit Hollywood since Ms. Meryl Streep, another favorite who IS the character. They could not have cast a better Aibileen.
e. Octavia Spencer, who played Minnie. Perfection. I loved Celia and Minnie’s friendship with her.
f. I am still not totally sold on Emma Stone as Skeeter, but she is a great actress.
g. Go see this in the theater. Some movies are more than a movie, but a bonding experience. Harry Potter 7, for example. The Help. That theater was packed with folks who had read that book, recommended that book, re-read that book, or lived that book. That gives the room a vibe that is just something else. We all oohed and ahhed over the same moments. Clapped when the credits rolled. And when the movie was over, folks lingered in the halls in groups, still talking about the movie, unwilling to let it go just yet.
h. Lines that are so well written, you just ache with the truth of them and the giftedness of the author. Like when Aibileen holds her young charge’s white cheeks, looks into her blue eyes and says, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”
i. There are so many powerful lines and images, I could hardly stand it. In fact, I pretty much bawled the whole way through the movie. When the film was over, my friends looked at me like, “Who are you?” I was just that wrapped up in it. Wrapped up in the story, in how it spoke to me personally, and in pride for an author I have never/will never meet, who gets to see her story come to life. And Hollywood didn’t screw it up. I’m so proud for her.
j. Funny. The movie is not just heavy stuff. Would I see it if it were? Nah. There are lots of funny moments, and both the book/movie balance this so well.
k. God is in this movie. (And Kirk Cameron is not.) Sometimes it’s very literal, such as a church scene, scriptural references, mentions of God. But even if His name had not been stated, He was in those words, those lines. And this was a movie about words. There were certain scenes where chills broke out on my arms. Scenes where I had to hold back from throwing up my hands and shouting glory. Author Natalie Lloyd said a woman in her theater did exactly that. It’s that real. I’m so proud of the book and movie for the spiritual integrity in the projects. Nothing spiritually heavy in that book. It was so natural. That’s a talent and a beautiful balance with a profound effect and return.
l. So much heart. Natalie Lloyd brought up this point. We had a 400 page email conversation over the movie, and she was so right. If there is no heart, you can’t sell your joke. Or your imagery. Or your theme of courage. Or your characters. Because you is kind. You is smart. And you is important.
There is also some controversy over the film. While there is already Oscar talk for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, it’s ticking some folks off. You can read about that HERE. I love the comment that says: “I hate it when I hear people saying that the women in this movie are playing maids. They’re not. They’re playing amazing women who just happen to work as maids.”
There are 100 other reasons I loved this book. But just go. Go see it.
And also go to She Reads. Where you can win some The Help swag.
If you saw the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts.