Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Help

As many of you know, I spent a year in Mississippi two years ago. I had the best time of my life, I met wonderful people and I will never forget everything I experienced during that year abroad. When I first learned I was going to live in MS, I was a bit scared. I knew nothing about that place and it was not really where I was dreaming to go.. just think about New York City or Los Angeles, and you'll see the difference. Although, once I landed in West Point, MS and the heat of the South struck me, I was hooked. I just had to go with it. I started to meet new people every day, and I realized the most important thing was not to be in a cool city with lots of buildings and the beach, but to have people welcome you (even if they hadn't planned it at first) and love you as much as the people from the South do. The best part about my whole year there was the people I have met. I miss them and think about them every day. You cannot just forget people that nice.

I went to see "The Help" at the movies about a month ago and it made me think about Mississippi A LOT. How could I not? The story IS about Mississippi. I often cry during movies, and I like it. I do not try to hold the tears in, I just love letting them fall on my cheeks and not wiping them. And of course, I cried during "The Help".. a lot. I then decided to read the book, and I was not disappointed. I cried as well, not as much, but I did. I also loved all the references to Southern life, and I am so glad I understood them.. things such as Ole Miss, fried chicken and "Roll Tide"!

"The Help" is a beautiful story about the lives of the colored maids working in white houses in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s. It focuses mainly on the characters of Skeeter Phelan, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson. All the main characters of this book are strong women and I like the fact that men are not the most important characters for once. This story is awful, but beautiful at the same time. The way white women acted at the time makes me sad and disgusts me, but the acts of Miss Skeeter make me believe there were people who thought differently, and still are. We might say this is all over, but it is not. It depends on which part of the world and it should not be that way. Racism is a serious issue, and I am glad books/movies like this one make us aware of it.

Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are marvelous actresses who depicted those characters beautifully. I like the fact that Kathryn Stockett, the author of the book, based herself on Octavia to create the character of Minny and that she got to play her in the movie. But, my favorite performance of this movie is Bryce Dallas Howard as the awfully-extremely-racist Hilly Holbrook. She was flawless and depicted that awful character so well. I loved her. Other female characters were portrayed by Jessica Chastain, Ahna O'Reilly and Allison Janney.

Like I said, there aren't many male characters in this story: Stuart Whitworth and Johnny Foote. And I was surprised to find two actors that I LOVE in the movie: Chris Lowell and Mike Vogel. Besides crying, I spent the whole movie drooling over their beauty.

To conclude, besides saying that you absolutely NEED to read the book or watch the movie, I would like to include a line of the book:
Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.

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