Hubs and I were excited to be able to preview The Help movie on Monday.
I understand, now, why the film has received so many early accolades. We laughed, we clapped, I cried. The emotional quotient of The Help will leave your heart feeling slightly bruised—if not a raw—and grateful that times have changed. It is truly a phenomenal film.
I have to tell you, though, that I nearly walked out within the first five minutes of the film.
In one of the opening scenes, Skeeter meets with the Editor in Chief of the Jackson Journal. In the space of less than five minutes, the quintessential 60’s male editor used the name of Christ irreverently and paired God’s name with an expletive that starts with the letter “d”. As a standard rule, we do not watch films that use the Lord’s name in vain, so I reached for my purse, and started to tap my husband to signal that we needed to leave. I decided, however, to see the film out and take it from there. After all, I can’t review a film if I don’t watch it, and it could have a redeeming quality.
The story of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan and the remarkable friendship that she sears with Aibileen and Minny, a friendship that is born out of Skeeter’s treatment of both women as equals and showing true concern for their feelings, is both inspiring and powerful. Skeeter didn’t intend to stir the pot when she returned home to Jackson after college. But, stir the pot, she did.
While interviewing Aibileen about cleaning methods, Skeeter asks more personal questions, such as “What does it feel like to raise a white child while your own child is at home being cared for by others.” Such questions lead Skeeter to want to interview more of the maids in Jackson, to see things from their perspective. Aibileen fears answering such questions could land her in hot water, but later agrees to answer the questions for Skeeter as long as her name isn’t used. Skeeter submits her interviews to Elaine Stein, the Harper & Row Publishing house editor. When Ms. Stein tells Skeeter she needs at least twelve more maids to interview to make the story worth publishing, Skeeter again seeks Aibileen’s help.
My favorite line from the film is “That’s a little too everything.”
The film showcases the injustices and indignities that an entire generation of Black American’s faced daily, and lends understanding to a generation that should hope to understand the scars that were left behind. It also underscores the faith that led many to change a nation for the greater.
I am saddened that such a phenomenal story, which will surely garner Oscar love, was marred by no less than ten misuses of God’s name, some of those being paired with that “d” word, as well as irreverent use of the name of Jesus and/or Christ. I am hard-pressed to understand why filmmakers feel the need to use God’s name disparagingly on the big screen. It is possible to maintain the integrity of the story and display the tenor of the attitude of the time without such harsh treatment of the Lord’s name.
All the more reason to wait for the DVD and watch it through ClearPlay.
On a side note, did you know that Nate Berkus makes his debut as one of the executive producers of The Help? It is the first film that he worked on, and he already has a second producing project in the works.