[teen tiny spoilers ahead] I had the pleasure of seeing The Help last week and it did not disappoint.I read the book earlier this year and couldn't wait to see its characters come to life. I rarely assume the film version will not "live up to" the book and go into adaptations with a positive attitude, and I usually leave with a good opinion. There are always exceptions, but I'm happy to include The Help among the list of those film adaptations that, I believe (and think others will agree), did its inspiration justice. Those who read the book may notice a few scenes were left out, but I don't think their absence hurt the overall story. Some elements were added and I think they only helped, especially the strengthening of two characters' presence.
For those who aren't familiar with the story, after the jump is the film's trailer.
I was especially happy with the cast in the movie. Viola Davis was transformed into who I imaged Aibileen was and is beginning to receive Oscar buzz for the role. I knew before opening the book that Emma Stone would be playing Skeeter, so while I was reading I pictured her. I'm a big fan of Stone's and loved seeing her as my favorite character. I was probably most impressed, though, by Bryce Dallas Howard's performance as Hilly Holbrook and Octavia Spencer's performance as Minny Jackson.
When I learned Howard would be portraying Hilly I wasn't sure if it would work. For some reason as I read the book I just didn't see her in that part. Now that I've seen the film, I have a different opinion. Howard created the perfect villain. The only thing I hated more than Hilly was how much I envied her wardrobe.
At first glance Spencer makes the perfect Minny and I had no trouble imagining her in Minny's shoes. In the book most of what makes up Minny, I thought, was her sass and spunk. There's no shortage of those two traits in the film, but Spencer also put a lot of heart and drive into the character and I found myself rooting for Minny even more.
My only gripe had to do with the film's length (2 hours and 17 minutes). I left the theater feeling satisfied, but also left thinking it was a little long. Looking back, though, I can't think of a moment I'd cut.
Overall the film was entertaining and moving. I left the theater with the overwhelming motivation to go change the world somehow... the decision on how to do so is yet to be determined.