Any time a book strikes a chord with a vast number of people, as Kathryn Stockett’s The Help did, there is a mixture of anticipation and trepidation about its transition to the screen. Overall, I think writer-director Tate Taylor has done a good job bringing the book and its characters to life, in concert with an exceptional cast. And, crucially, he has managed to recreate the look and feel of a Southern town in the 1960s, with its separate but unequal citizenry: the well-to-do white folks and their black servants.
If you lived through that time, it is incredible to contemplate how much has changed (and how much hasn’t) over the years, not only in race relations but in attitudes toward women. That’s part of the fascination of watching The Help, which captures so many telling details of—
I’ve been impressed with the filmmaking team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck since I saw their bold, original debut feature Half-Nelson, with Ryan Gosling, which was adapted from a short subject they made two years earlier. Their followup film, Sugar, about a baseball player from the Dominican Republic, revealed that they weren’t one-hit wonders, and didn’t intend to fall prey to formulaic storytelling. Their new film seemed equally promising; while I usually try to avoid trailers I happened to see this one, and it—
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