Blu-Ray Review: The Help

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THE HELP

Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 137 Minutes
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Director: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek.

Technical Details:

Visual: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4

Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround, English Descriptive Video Service 2.0, French Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround.

Subtitles: English SDH, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles

Emma Stone as "Skeeter"

Studio Synopsis:

The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny-three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.

My Snapshot Review (*** 1/2)

“The mocking and/or criticizing of ‘The Help’ for not being the loud and defiant voice that it should have been, or could have been, is noted. And frankly, if the argument emanates from African-American circles, I will listen. To me though, ‘The Help’ never felt like a film that wanted to change the world and rectify past atrocities. While it could be so much more than it ultimately is, ‘The Help’ is still one impressive film.”

The Extra Content:

The Making Of ‘The Help’: From Friendship To Film: Documents the lifelong friendship of Kathryn Stockett, the book’s author, and writer/director Tate Taylor, and the life experiences which led to Stockett to write her best-selling book. Taylor goes through the location work, production elements, while old friends and cast and crew members discuss meeting and working with the filmmakers.

In Their Own Words: A Tribute To The Maids Of Mississippi: Director Tate Taylor and co-star Octavia Spencer are featured in a roundtable discussion with several former maids from Greenwood, Mississippi who talk about their experiences working as family maids.

Deleted Scenes: 5 are featured, each with an introduction by director Tate Taylor.

“The Living Proof” Music Video: Mary J. Blige’s inspirational theme to the film is presented via its music video.

Viola Davis is outstanding as Aibileen...

The Help is potentially in line for a handful of Academy Award nominations in January 2012 and it is easy to see how and why this may come to be. Expertly acted, with a brilliant performance by Viola Davis, and terrific work from Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer in supporting roles, The Help is a moving and affecting story told well by first-time director and screenwriter Tate Taylor. Some have branded the film as another in the long line of “White Person’s Guilt” movies, but be it the source material or Tate Taylor’s screenplay, The Help fails to play false. While it misses the opportunity to speak boldly and loudly about the Civil Rights Movement and underplays key moments from the Movement, The Help survives with terrific acting and an engaging, watchable sensibility. I had many walls put up before ever seeing the film and while I think the film is stuffed a bit too full with subplots that are not well advanced or realized, The Help won me over. A huge box office success, there is plenty to watch and enjoy with one of the year’s biggest hit films.

SHOULD I RENT IT?!?! – Yes.
SHOULD I BUY IT?!?! – Yes.

* – Review also featured on Mike Ward’s Should I See It website