The Help

3 posts

Did Kathryn Stockett Help Herself to the Nanny’s Story?

A Hinds County, Mississippi Circuit Court Judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett as it was filed after the statute of limitations had run out. The suit claims that the author used the likeness and the life story of her brother’s nanny to write The Help without permission. The judge who dismissed the suit did not comment on the claim’s merits. Continue reading

New Movie Trailers: Fearless Housemaids and Feckless Bridesmaids

Finally, a return to women in film. Hasn’t it seemed like forever since a movie touted a primarily all-female cast? Not since 2008’s remake of The Women have we seen this much lady talent in one place. However, we’ll have to hope the outcome of these two new releases fares a bit better than what happened to Meg, Annette, Eva, Jada, and Debra in that last frozen-faced travesty. It just wasn’t good. No, no it wasn’t. And sorry, Meg, but we just don’t understand what’s happening below your hairline either. We’d like you to stop that. Anyway, it’s a new year, and these two offerings would like to reintroduce you to ladies who can act and make us laugh.

The Help

Who hasn’t read The Help? If there was a book club, a company break room, a yoga class, or an empty lounge chair at Starbucks there was someone reading The Help last year. This is the book whose name ended the sentence, “Hey, have you read…” or “Oh, my god. Read…!” It was just that kind of phenomenon, and seemingly overnight, plans for a movie were announced. Much of the excitement surrounded who would play all the roles in this inexplicably remarkable little book. The casting of Viola Davis, Oscar nominee and recent Tony winner, as Aibileen was a stroke of genius. The newly minted Emma Stone was at first a bit confusing since she was largely known for just a few lines in Judd Apatow’s Superbad — but her showing in Easy A added a bit more gravitas to her casting as Skeeter Phelan.

Some have noted the lighthearted approach in this trailer and feel it’s worrisome regarding the overall sentiment of the novel. I can’t say that I totally disagree.

While it’s certainly possible given that this is a spring release, and we’re not in a heavy Oscar push quite yet, the major concern for the studio is probably getting people to the theater — then perhaps they’ll hit you with the heavier subject matter. But I dunno. The trailer almost makes the movie look like a mash of Steel Magnolias with something Tyler Perry would direct (and probably star in). I don’t want to think that’s the case, but I can’t really explain the Rob Reiner music choice, or the Hollywood movie set, Technicolor backdrop, or the flouncy, almost Hairspray-esque visuals. It does seem a touch too light.

As someone who tore through the book in the matter of days, I really want them to do this story justice, but not because it was a book of such overwhelming literary prose. Compelling as it was, it had its foibles, but because for the real-life black women who did Days Work for decades — their story, even if told through the voice of someone who didn’t live that experience — shouldn’t be cavalierly diminished by quick, pre-fab, Hollywood spackle. Given the source material, there was real opportunity to turn it into something poignant. Let’s hope they deliver. At the very least, though, I expect Viola to be excellent. However, at this point I can’t get beyond Emma Stone’s hair. Just what the what? I fear she’ll be a caricature.


So you thought Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were the only two funny chicks on television and making movies in Hollywood? Well, you’d be so, so wrong. Kristen Wiig has finally emerged from the sidekick annals to star in her own ensemble-ly movie about a bunch of begrudging bridesmaids who embark in hilarious antics up the wazoo. Here’s the second trailer about these fine, and so very lady-like chicks in dresses they’ll never wear again.

It seems the new trailer further solidifies that this will be The Hangover: Lost in David’s Bridal, but that’s just fine. There are some identifiable archetypes here — we know what they are, and we’re not surprised to see them emerge. The fun, it looks like, is seeing what the actresses will do with them. If it’s the unexpected — we’ll be thrilled, if it’s the same thing Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, and Cameron Diaz could pull off — we’ll be less so. It looks so far to have the right balance between the believable and the absurd, even if it follows the current “funny movie” formula set-up by throwing most anybody into a movie with Zach Galifianakis. However, I can’t stop myself from thinking about what it could’ve been like if they actually did have Fey and Poehler in the mix here. Would it ratchet it up a notch? Possibly. But ultimately I think it’s good that Wiig is stepping out and away from the rest of the SNL alum. And this surely looks loads better than some of the SNL-born films in the last decade or so. Anyone remember The Ladies Man, or any of the things starring Chris Kattan? So, yeah, good on Wiig so far. I’m excited for this. And it’s about damn time.

So what do you think? Are you like, “I’m there with bells on!” or “I’ll update my Netflix queue.” or “Not even if Jesus was the co-star.” Tell us in the comments.