The Help Movie Review Essay

As we waited for the movie to start, and a long wait it would be because the projector was malfunctioning (a sign?), I listened to the women around me, certainly well-meaning, many of them of the , then decided that was unfair of me. My fellow moviegoers applauded when the movie began and they applauded when the movie ended. I was the only black person in the theatre, though to be fair, that mostly speaks to where I live.While I wondered how so many talented people signed on to this movie, the cast is not the problem here.

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Minny uses her mystical negritude to help Celia cope with several miscarriages and learn how to cook and at the end of the movie, the narrative leads you to believe that Celia indirectly empowers Minny to leave her abusive husband as if a woman of Minny’s strength and character couldn’t do that on her own.

Then Celia cooks a whole spread for Minny and allows the help to sit at her dining room table just like white folk, aww shucks. ” and Celia’s husband says, “You have a job here for the rest of your life.” Minny, of course, beams gratefully because a lifetime of servitude to a white family, doing backbreaking work for terrible pay is like winning the lottery and the best a black woman could hope for in the alternate science fiction universe of .

Aibileen’s magical power is making young white children feel good about .

Whenever Mae Mobley is feeling down, Aibileen chants, “You is kind. You is important.” She showers the child with love and affection even while having to listen to young white women discuss black people as a subhuman species, deal with the indignity of using a bathroom outside of the main house, and while trying to cope with her grief. At the end of the movie, Aibileen offers her inspirational incantation to young Mae Mobley even after she is fired for an infraction she did not commit because that’s what the magical negro does—she uses her magic for her white charge and never for herself.

is a movie set in 1923, and tells the story of Rosewood, a deeply segregated, primarily black town in Florida.

A married white woman in nearby Summer, having an affair, is beaten by her white lover.We know this because she sasses her mother and doesn’t make finding a man her first priority, no.Her first priority is to give grown black women a voice.They applauded during inspiring moments and gasped or groaned or clucked their tongues during the uncomfortable or painful moments. As I walked to my car I came to the bitter realization that is a good movie. The cast is uniformly excellent and includes the immensely talented supporting cast of Cicely Tyson, Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek.I would not be surprised if stars Viola Davis and/or Octavia Spencer receive Oscar nominations because not only do they do excellent work in the movie, Hollywood loves to reward black women for playing magical negroes.Emma Stone plays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan who has just returned to Jackson after graduating from Ole Miss.She gets a job as an advice columnist for the local paper but she has bigger aspirations and a whole lot of gumption.That’s true if your heart is warmed by narrow, condescending, mostly racist depictions of black people in 1960s Mississippi, overly sympathetic depictions of the white women who employed I have decided, is science fiction, creating an alternate universe to the one we live in.* Hollywood has long been enamored with the magical negro—the insertion of a black character into a narrative who bestows upon the protagonist the wisdom they need to move forward in some way or as Matthew Hughey defines the phenomenon in a 2009 article in , “The [magical negro] has become a stock character that often appears as a lower class, uneducated black person who possesses supernatural or magical powers.* The theatre was crowded for the screening of I attended.Women came in groups of three or four or more, many of them clutching their well-worn copies of the book by the same name.


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