I haven’t read the best selling book the movie The Help is based on. Nor have I paid much attention to the controversy about a White central character telling the story of black maids in Jackson, Mississippi. I can only judge the movie by what appears on screen.

You get the sense the audience is being manipulated. This is where you’re supposed to laugh; this is where you should cry. It feels like a paint by numbers movie lesson about the ills of racism that comes across as a bit shallow and sunny despite the subject matter. There is a moment in the film where you see a newspaper headline about the Freedom Riders who were pioneers in the civil rights movement. If you’ve seen the powerful and unforgettable PBS documentary about these real life heroes, The Help will come across as a flimsy and pale attempt at depicting a complex and disturbing issue that still reverberates today. Continue reading »

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