Reflections on “The Help”

21 08 2011
Cover of "The Help"

Book cover

Two thumbs up for the acclaimed movie The Help, a screenplay written and directed by Tate Taylor. DH and I viewed it last night.

The 1960s Civil Rights issues cannot be forgotten, and for dear readers younger than 50, The Help talks about a piece of that, delivering the information in a way that might stir more interest in that important era of American history.

Though the ending is hopeful, I wondered how much racist issues persist today in comparison, and I hoped more people would watch the film before it leaves the theaters.

Though based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel (i.e., fiction) that tells the stories of black maids in the service of white employers, the movie was convincing as an accurate reflection of truth.

“We were there,” said DH, meaning the stories are contemporary with us, and meaning that we had been in Mississippi.

On one of our driving trips across half of America, I think it was around 2003, we called on our cousin Eddy in Memphis, Tennessee. (Eddy and her siblings remark how brave their Chinese-American father from Hawaii and Caucasian mother from Mississippi were, to marry in the South in the 1950s. I recall she said she feels equally comfortable whether in Hawaii or the South for that reason.)

In Memphis, Eddy the tour guide escorted us to places like Graceland, SUN studio (where she’d worked), Beale Street, and Stax Museum, but it was the National Civil Rights Museum that we liked visiting the most because of how the museum showed how all the events of that time related, one with another.

During the early Sixties DH and I were in high school, he in Pennsylvania and I in Hawaii. We read about the protests but we could not possibly comprehend everything. Visiting the Civil Rights Museum and viewing the story of The Help would be on my recommended list for everyone 12 and up.

One day Eddy drove us south across the border into Mississippi, to Ripley, where her mother was born, to visit her aunt who’d made a peanut butter pie. She lived in a neighborhood with wide streets and mature shady trees. Last night both DH and I recognized its ambiance in The Help, though the movie was filmed in Jackson, Mississippi.

What parents need to know

In browsing the reviews for The Help online I came across http://commonsensemedia.org/ that I thought parents might welcome these days when media and digital activities seem to take precedent over school and home activities. There’s a good “what parents need to know” section, for example, when you look up a movie. But it’s not just about movies. Worth checking out.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke
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