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The Help in the title is a maid named Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) who is decency personified & ably takes care of a charming toddler whose mother doesn’t donate her the time of day. The toddler in question is Mae Mobley, a chunky little thing who, due to her ungainly demeanour, looks a whole lot better in her diapers than in the hideous frilled creations her mother insists she be dressed in.

Watch The Help Online Megavideo

This is 1962 in the Deep South, decades before any kind of self-affirmation ala Oprah, yet this black maid gives her little white charge a daily mantra which she dutifully repeats back to her; “you is kind & you is smart & you is important”. You can’t fail to miss the irony, what are the chances of anyone older than 3 ever uttering such words to the complex working & perpetually tired Aibileen?

There are certainly no words of kindness coming her way from Elizabeth (Ahna O’Reilly) the foolish & distant mother of little Mae, whose main focus in life is overseeing the construction of a separate bathroom for Aibileen to use. The Help, based on the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, could make its intentions any clearer if it had them across the screen in 6ft high letters, the lack of respect that this satisfactory woman receives should, & will be, redressed by the end of the movie.

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This is moreover given away by the way that they have shot Jackson, Missouri, all lush greens & brilliant sunlight. The constant, yet casual racist remarks that are aimed at the black domestic servants won’t stop completely, yet you are waiting for the inevitable revenge that will be served up on a silver platter to the evil Hilly. The evil villainess ably played by Bryce Dallas Howard, has the sort of ‘eew, cooties!’ mentality that sets the tone for the social set Elizabeth belongs to.

There is an old fashioned & familiar feeling approximately The Help, as if was lifted from that time in the 1970’s when everyone was making films the ‘Roots’ way to teach us a lesson in social harmony. Another familiarity is that it has, as usual, a white character leading the way towards stopping the injustice. In this case it is the feisty Skeeter, a lanky girl with frizzy hair who can’t obtain a date. Not the kind of role you would associate with the glamorous Emma Stone, yet it’s astonishing what a pair of glasses & tomboy actions can do.

Liberal notions & aspirations to be a journalist have put her at odds with her old friends Elizabeth & Hilly, & when she decides to write a book from the servants’ point of view of how badly they are treat by their white employers, all hell breaks loose.

    Watch The Help Online Megavideo

This movie would be a loss less watchable without the outstanding performance of Davis. The predictability of the movie is a made bearable by her very presence. Her affection for little Mae is tangible, & her increasing sense of dread that she means more to the child than her own mother is perfectly played out. It may be only August, yet when the time comes around expect to see Davis’ name on the list of Oscar nominees.
The Help delivers the kind of pessimism that existed at the start of ‘driving Miss Daisy’ & like that movie, the picture brightens as the story unfolds. The ensemble cast of classy female actresses all do their job, yet you can’t take your eyes off Davis, & it is she alone that makes The Help unmissable.

    Watch The Help Online Megavideo
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