Monday, August 15, 2011

book review: the help by kathryn stockett

From the moment I saw the commercial, I knew I needed to read it.

Okay, that may seem a little, well, backwards. And I know that if you read the book before they even cast the movie you're cursing my name right now. I know that I'm denying that anybody likes the casting choices of The Hunger Games movie, even as we "speak." But maybe even that casting has grown on me over the past month. So why not just not curse my name for liking the movie too? I just went in a complete circle.

I must have seen the commercial a little more than two months ago. At that exact moment, I vowed that I must know the story. Of course, I couldn't wait 'til August 10th to find out, either. I borrowed the book from a friend, and it had been waiting to be read for a good week before I picked it up. That puts the beginning of my reading date at Friday of last week. (August 6th?) I whipped through it, loving every point-of-view switch that Ms. Stockett threw in there. And, unfortunately, I didn't make my August 10th deadline to rush to the earliest viewing possible, but I finished Friday, August 12th, at approximately 12:17 P.M. Central Standard Time. I finally saw the movie last night, checking yet another thing off of my to-do list.

I suppose I should talk about the book first.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I was immediately enthralled with the story. But I was a little worried that my anxiety towards it would leave me disappointed in the end. Without giving too much away, I was pleasantly surprised. Thrown back to 1962's Jackson, Mississippi, I instantly started loving Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter as they fought to gain basic human rights for the African American maids that deserved to use the same toilets as their employers as well as much more, all while loathing that "holier-than-thou" Hilly Holbrook. I was caught up in everything that Stockett must have wanted her audience to see, for I felt every injustice laid out on the line and would have given "Two-Piece" Hilly that pie with my own hands. It almost seems easy to forget that that kind of thing could ever happen. It just seems so foreign. But wow. What an impacting story, not only on the side of "the help," but also on the side of Ms. Celia Foote. Her story as well was heartbreaking, a story of isolation for no other reason than how society follows a pushy, insolent personality such as Hilly. I don't know what else to say about it. It's such a powerful masterpiece. You'll have to read it and draw you own conclusions about this marvelous story that Kathryn Stockett crafted seemingly so easily.

And then there was the movie. The excessive longing had paid off when I finally walked out of those theatre doors. It is everything that I wanted and more. The story, as mentioned from the book, was not extracted from in the least; therefore, it was going to be fantastic from the start. The casting. Oh, the casting! I thought it was fantastic. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jessica Chastain were my immediate favorites. They captured the very essence of their characters and nailed it in every aspect, putting this down in the storybooks forever, in my mind. Allison Janney, as always, delivered well, also. It was just fantastic. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. I loved the score, the cinematography, everything. Perfect. A little side note: Some things in the movie need further explaining, so reading the book first is ideal.

I could go on and on, but I really don't feel like writing for another hour, so I'm going to leave it off here.

(Looking back on it, Jessica Chastain was just the best Celia. And Octavia Spencer was the best Minny. Here's a picture of the actresses who hit the nail right on the head.)

Just knowing that an Oscar will be coming this film's way...

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