The Laurens County Theater was packed this Saturday. Why? Because The Help was showing. The movie was simply fabulous; it had been built up by so many people that I almost expected it to be a let-down, but it exceeded all my expectations.
Emma Stone, star of movies such as Easy A, played Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a definite difference from her comedic roles. She portrays a young woman who has returned from college to narrow-minded Mississippi where nothing, and yet everything, has changed. Skeeter wants to be a novelist and a journalist in a time when women were not writers. She gets her start answering a cleaning advice column that she actually knows nothing about. Skeeter decides to ask one of her friends if she can talk with her maid, Aibileen, so that Skeeter can answer the questions. While working with Aibileen, Skeeter begins to notice how unfairly Aibileen and all the other maids are treated. She decides that she wants to get their stories and perspectives. At first, Aibileen wants no part of this because white supremacists of the time do terrible things to those who speak out against oppression, but she eventually realizes that she needs to tell her story. Meanwhile, Skeeter discovers that her project goes against the law in Mississippi, however she decides that she really needs to get this message across and continues with her plan. In the midst of all the action, Mrs. Hilly Holbrook, an avid racist, is simply cruel in a really passive aggressive way to all the maids. Mrs. Hilly is a junior leaguer who uses her influence to push segregated legislation. She is able to make a law requiring maids to use a separate bathroom outside rather than allowing them to use the one inside the house; all based on the grounds of protecting their children from dangerous diseases that the maids might carry.
Seeing it at the Laurens Theater was great because, unlike at larger theaters, the atmosphere was much homier. I could hear people sniffling together when the parts were sad; we laughed together when it was funny. The overall feel was just more personable.
My summary barely begins to do the film justice. The movie will make you laugh and cry and then laugh all over again. If you have not seen it, you definitely need to. It was simply fantastic!