The Help: Powerful and Inspirational

Tate Taylor’s latest film shows how it takes only one courageous voice to change lives

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By Tashana Hughes

A large number of voices stay silent, a lot of cries go unheard, but it only takes one voice to change the lives of many.

The Help, which came out in movie theaters last month, shows how it takes courage to make a stand.

The movie stars Emma Stone as Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, an ambitious young woman who is more focused on making a career as a journalist than she is on settling down and getting married.

She helps two African-American housemaids share their stories.

Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis, is a courageous 53-year-old housemaid who defies the conventions of the early 1960s. Minny Jackson, played by Octavia Spencer, is known for her sassiness and good cooking and helps Clark and Skeeter speak up, not only for themselves, but for others suffering from racial segregation.

Then you have those who will do anything to be in control. Bryce Dallas Howard, as Hilly Holbrook, plays the manipulating “queen bee” of the young mothers’ social network in Jackson, Miss. She makes every attempt to destroy Clark and Jackson after she reads the story they have put together.

The outsider, Celia Foote, played by Jessica Chastain, comes from a different world. She is a little rough around the edges and marries the hottest bachelor in Jackson, prompting the elite group to shun her.

The movie is set in Jackson in the 1960s. As an African-American in those times, it was not easy to speak up without suffering from harsh retaliation. Everything was segregated.

Through the help of the aspiring writer fresh out of college, Clark and Jackson are given the courage to speak up about how they are being treated and share stories about raising 17 white children as housemaids.

Skeeter tells the stories of several housemaids in her book, sharing their hardships, tears and pain. Among the stories shared is how difficult it is making a 15-year-old girl quit school in order to work to help provide for the family.

Through everything Clark, Jackson and Skeeter experience, they do not back down from what they believe in.

This must-see movie, directed by Tate Taylor, has what it takes to show society that, regardless of differences and circumstances and no matter who you are, it takes only one courageous voice to change lives. The Help is a heartwarming portrayal of what it takes to gain the courage and strength to take a risk and stand up for those unable to speak out.

It is rated PG-13 for thematic material, and it is 2 hours, 17 minutes long. It is showing at the United Artists Theater at 8275 West Amarillo Blvd. and at Cinemark Hollywood 16 at 9100 Canyon Dr.

To learn more about the movie, visit


Originally published: Thursday, September 22, 2011

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