Tyler Perry Gives "The Help" His Stamp Of Approval! Reviews Are Coming In...

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 9, 2011 7:51 AM
32 Comments
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I saw a movie called, THE HELP that opens this Friday. I must say, I really enjoyed it! I love looking back and seeing how far we've come. And the performances in this film are stellar. Ms. Cicely Tyson was exceptionally Cicely. Viola Davis, this woman is remarkable. Octavia Spencer, she was like watching joy rise on the screen. You know I don't recommend a lot of movies, so this one has to be special, right? Well it is! Go see it if you can this weekend. THE HELP! I really enjoyed it.

A message from Tyler Perry to his many fans sent out a couple of hours ago. There's obviously been a marketing push to combat the strong criticism the film has received from black audiences thus far. From the early NAACP screening and their enthusiastic endorsement of it, to Mr Perry's, who also has a substantial following.

Has Oprah Winfrey thrown her $.02 in yet? I believe she was a fan of the book.

Will it translate to box office gold when the film opens this week? I dunno...

Reviews have started turning up, and mine is coming. I was told after the press screening I attended a couple of weeks ago or so that there was an embargo on reviews of the film, directly from Disney brass, until the 10th, which is tomorrow. That's why I haven't posted mine yet. However, others are posting theirs; so much for that embargo, huh?

So far, of the 19 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, 14 are *Fresh* - meaning, the majority liked it.

I'll type up my thoughts this evening (although I really should have done so already; though there actually might be some benefit to waiting this long to review it), and if I get it done in good time, and I'm satisfied with it, I'll post it up tonight. But, at the latest, it'll be up first thing in the morning.

I'm guessing we'll see Sergio's as well soon enough.

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32 Comments

  • Baywatcher | August 15, 2011 4:03 AMReply

    To Tyler Perry -Please make a movie from the book "At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. In this groundbreaking and important book, Danielle McGuire writes about the rape in 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, who strolled toward home after an evening of singing and praying at the Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world.

  • Rural Character | August 12, 2011 7:40 AMReply

    God bless you Laura. May you some day get over your anger and hate issues. And may that huge chip on your shoulder diminish sooner rather than later. No one (studio or human) thinks they're entitled to your hard earned money or that you are obligated to go see anything. The truth is no one cares.

  • EC | August 12, 2011 1:44 AMReply

    The fact that Tyler Perry endorses this film is a good reason NOT to see it! Perry's movies are crap and degrade black people.

  • Laura | August 11, 2011 12:30 PMReply

    @Rural Character & The Southern Cracker

    How much are the marketing @ Touchstone Pictures are paying you guys for pushing the film on this site.

    I bet we will never hear from you after this film passes. We sure as hell aint gonna here from the likes of you when an Black independently produced film that deals with "HISTORY whether you like it or not" -as quoted from you The Southern Cracker

    Or a Black or White film through a Black lens. A good movie that you can thoroughly enjoy...which is why you would go to the movies --as you claim Rural Character.

    All I got to say to the both of you is: y'all need to go in the corner and sit your asses down.

  • Rural Character | August 11, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    Saw it. Loved it. Certainly as good as the book and that's rare. These women nailed the characters depicted in the novel...although Skeeter's mama got to redeem her self a little in the movie and I preferred hating her. I laughed and cried and cheered. There was only a handful of men in the audience but one of them laughed louder than any female in there. Was it a white film or a black film? I don't know or care. Was it a black film through a white lens? Don't know or care about that neither. I do know it was a good movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it...which is why I go to the movies anyway.

  • JMac | August 11, 2011 4:54 AMReply

    Took the words out of my mouth ,Laura.

    If the sentiment is this isn't a black or white movie, why the hell are they here?

    They don't need to sit down. They need to get up and leave - and let the door hit them on the way out.

  • Sergio | August 10, 2011 12:59 PMReply

    @ keepingitreal

    "Stop with this “Black Film” non sense! Why must we continue to segregate ourselves. We should call a film a film. Not a “Black Film”! A film is a film!"

    So then why in the hell are you here? I mean seriously if dealing with black film gets your panties in a twist then why come to A BLACK FILM WEBSITE???? What is the logic in that? You should be avoiding us like the plague. I'm just "keeping it real" you know? Run away from us before we contaminate you!!!!!

  • Mecca | August 10, 2011 12:53 PMReply

    I don't understand why so many Black people would go out and watch this rather than a great indie flick?

    It is real sad that Cicely Tyson is in her 70's and she is still playing the "poor ol' black folk" trying to make a living in the South and dealing with the hardships of being a Black female living in the deep South attending to the wants and needs of upper-class white folks who don't give 2 pennies about you as a person. smh

    When will Cicely get her Academy Award or get highly praised for a performance in her elderly years??

    I'm sorry if I was her age I would not want a peripheral role alongside young white girls in a movie about maids cooking and cleaning in South in the Civil Rights era. Hoping for whites to rescue them from their pathetic lifestyle and be acknowledged in society.

  • MsJones74 | August 10, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    I read this book in 2009, a month after it came out, before anyone had the chance to get all up in arms about the theme and the fact that the author is white. There is an actual STORY behind the white woman writes a book about black maids. There are characters to be loved and characters to be hated and story lines to cheer and story lines that break your heart.

    If a book or movie is set in Mississippi in the 1960's I expect it to be accurate. No one thinks this wasn't life in the South in the 60's? Privileged white folk and their maids? Jim Crowe laws? No one wonders how the Maids grit their teeth and smile in that white woman's face everyday?

    Saw the film last night. Viola, Octavia, Cicely ALL did a wonderful job. As did Allison Janney and Sissy Spacek and Bryce Dallas Howard (who I didn't know was Ron Howard's daughter. She is convincingly despicable as Hilly Holbrook).

    I don't see it as a black film, either. It wasn't presented as a black film to me, but I've really avoided most of the press for this movie.

    The last Great White Hope Movie I saw was Dangerous Minds. I know a White Savior movie when i see it. This isn't one. Ain't nobody saved in this film. At all. In fact, things are pretty much worse at the end then at the beginning. Ain't no romanticizing or fantasizing, there's no Great White Hope, 'Ima make things better for the negroes'...things happen and life goes on. It's just a fictional depiction of life in the south during a pivotal time.

    I dunno. I guess I just don't get it.

  • The southern "Cracker" | August 10, 2011 12:40 PMReply

    I have so much respect for those of any race or group that breaks through the oppression with their dignity and self respect in tact. And that is what these women displayed. My mother always taught me two wrongs don't make a right...don't stoop to the same ideas and tactics that you hate in others. These women rose above through grace and showed the utmost dignity even in the darkest of times. There reason for remaining in this situation was to provide for their own families..they knew what was important no matter what.

    You talk about the racism of whites and yet who is it on this page that is throwing out all the negative slurs referring to your own people...that's what I've never gotten. I agree with Sergio...This is not a "black film" just because it has black people in it...It is a movie about society as a whole in a particular period of time. It is HISTORY whether you like it or not. As a white person i have been extremely ashamed of our actions as a people from the first time in school when I learned that we stole this land from the Indians native to this land, to child labor, to slavery, to the oppression of women, and any other person or idea that is different than our own.....We are all humans inhabiting one planet...we all come from different cultures beliefs and histories..but learn from it and become who you want to be. One planet, one people...

  • The southern "Cracker" | August 10, 2011 12:12 PMReply

    Reading all these posts (except from "keepingitreal" shows me just how much racism still exists today..When I read this book it spoke to me so much as I was re-living my childhood. This is not fiction. It could have been my story to a degree. I was a white child, in one of these white homes in the Mississippi Delta, that had "help". This woman was very special to me as I spent many hours with her. I did not agree with the subservience and questioned and challenged it often. My grandfather was a cotton farmer and worked just as hard and side by side with his workers from sun up to sundown. At lunch he would come in from the fields to a spread in the formal dining room that my grandmothers "help" had spent all morning preparing. I didn't understand why she didn't join us at the table and many times would take my plate and go eat in the kitchen with her against my grandmother's wishes. My grandmother to built one of these outside bathrooms when she renovated the house in the 60's. As a child I thought it was for my grandfather to clean up in when coming in from the fields, but after reading this book I know different. I was raised to be racist, but it never took. I would rally with my grandmothers help when they would speak out against some stupid ignorant comment she would make. But this is my childhood and I find great nostalgia in it. I have so much respect for hat is sad is that this area of the country is still very much this way today. After I grew up and moved away and would come for visits I made sure I visited this special woman too even though she no longer worked for my grandmother. After we moved my grandmother to Georgia in her last years and didn't visit often my grandmother's help began writing me and we would exchange Christmas gifts across the states. She missed her baby just as I missed her. At her funeral a few years back , yes we went back to Mississippi for it, we were called out during the service to show what a great woman she was cause even the whites showed up. I couldn't believe it...this place will never change...it's sad. But there is nowhere else I would have been for she was a part of my family. just because you don't agree with history doesn't mean we need to erase it...instead we need to learn and grow as people by seeing the mistakes of the past.

  • Jennifer | August 10, 2011 7:23 AMReply

    Yeah, how about NO. I would rather eat glass than watch this shit. Sorry Viola Davis, I know you are in a rough spot but not this film. No.

  • BluTopaz | August 10, 2011 3:35 AMReply

    "I love looking back and seeing how far we’ve come"

    Reminders of how badly we were treated is entertainment for him? He is such a tool, all of sonofbaldwin's names for him (Prime Minister of Coonistan is my fave) are on point and funny as hell.

    And also cracking up @ that dude; i kept thinking was Rise written by a Black person because there were so many nuances in that film that dealt with oppression and complacency. Would be a great post for those who have seen it, to avoid spoilers for those who haven't.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | August 10, 2011 3:25 AMReply

    Well, if it's Coon-approved...

    LOL

    Just tell me a story... a good one. When people ask me why I dislike Perry so much, I tell them it isn't because of his subject matter, per se -- it's because he's an atrocious storyteller.

    Two things here:

    One, mainstream movies about minorities here in the U.S. will almost always be seen through the "lens" of a Caucasian; not saying it's right, just saying. Whites have everything... except souls (lol). They need the brothas and sistas to show them how to blah, blah, blah -- and then we get our wings or courage from the Wizard or whatever.

    Second, did we have a whole lot of fantastic experiences prior to the Civil Rights movement? Louis C.K. once joked that if a black man had a time machine he wouldn't go back farther than 1980. Our story in America has been a harsh (yet uplifting) one; period pieces about us will naturally reflect that.

    Quick question: Since Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes were clearly the (marketed) stars of "Glory," should we just disregard the performances of Washington, Freeman, Braugher and others?

    Defense rests.

  • keepingitreal | August 10, 2011 2:34 AMReply

    People stop looking at the maids uniform and look at the WOman and the message behind the uniform. Stop being so closed minded!

  • keepingitreal | August 10, 2011 2:33 AMReply

    Stop with this "Black Film" non sense! Why must we continue to segregate ourselves. We should call a film a film. Not a "Black Film"! A film is a film!

  • CareyCarey | August 10, 2011 2:16 AMReply

    @ MsJones74 & others who are shaking their heads at those who have voiced porous and totally ridiculous opinions about this movie... before they’ve EVEN SEEN THE MOVIE! Don’t waste any more of your time trying to figure them/it out. Trying to figure them out is like trying to figure out white folks. One would have to be white to really understand what’s going on in their heads. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing white folks, they come in all flavors, however, it would be unwise of me or anyone to believe they know what’s going on in their heads because I am not white and therefore have not lived their existence, nor do we share certain genes.

    “...things happen and life goes on. It’s just a fictional depiction of life in the south during a pivotal time”

    YES! And the following is a clue to the mindset of some of our saynaynay negro friends

    “One, mainstream movies about minorities here in the U.S. will almost always be seen through the “lens” of a Caucasian; not saying it’s right, just saying”

    Now lookie there, up jump the rabbit through the back door! I think some of our family of black friends are looking through the eyes of our blue-eyed Caucasian friends, and then, they unwisely are assuming what they might be thinking. It speaks to a deep personal insecurity of a person who is worried and terrified of what white folks may think and feel about “them”/us.

    Has anyone noticed how some black people are quick to label black performers, actors and their roles as coonish? Yet, on the other hand, I wonder if they assign those same types of mean spirited titles to white performers like The Three Stooges, Adam Sadler, Tony Curtis & Jack Lemon (in some like it hot), Will Ferrell, Jim Carey, Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, etc,? Well... I seriously doubt it and I’d bet my last dollar that they’ve laughed and paid their money and precious time to see them. So why all the furor over black actors plying their craft in fictional roles? Miss me with the white people slant... they're off this table.

    The answer... insecure black folks looking through the eyes of white folks who they believe are gaining their PhD’s (higher degree of learning) on people of color by watching one damn movie. Besides, again, I don’t know what white people are thinking, nor do I care.

    In short, labeling Tyler Perry and other black performers as coons and buffoons has never been funny to me. A coon? What the hell is a coon... one who goes about venting on a movie they have not seen and decries the role of a maid!? I pity the fool!

  • Orville | August 10, 2011 2:10 AMReply

    I like Tyler Perry but I have a mind of my own. The Help reminds me of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. In fact,. The Help is just the 21st century version of Harper's Lee's book. The message is still the same though that black people are victims that need to be saved. Blacks are on the margins while white folks are at the center. I think this is the real controversy about The Help. Emma Stone's character Skeeter is presented as a young white woman that dares to challenge racism and write about the injustice the black domestics experience.

    The Help is still though a white lens though looking back.

    Of course, this movie will be successful because white people don't want to have bad feelings about America's racist past. Why would Hollywood make a movie depicting the truth about 1960s domestics? Where are the movies about black domestics getting raped by white men? I doubt that would be popular with white audiences. White oeople don't want to see that they don't want to see civil rights movies that make them look bad. I remember reading a book review in the Washington Post last year about a book which deals with black women and rape during the civil rights era. People don't want to see that they want that happy fuzzy feeling after a movie.

    I think the reason some people are upset isn't just because the author of the Help is a white woman. I think the controversy is the movie and the book are through a white lens. My opinion is that the reason The Help was made into a movie because it makes white people feel good about themselves. The core audience that will watch The Help are middle class white women. Hollywood is all about box office so of course a movie about the civil rights movement has to have a white protagonist which is Emma Stone's character.

  • JMac | August 10, 2011 1:22 AMReply

    You know that's not what I meant :P

    Dogs = black folks who want to see mainstream movies dealing with black people regardless of the subject matter or the quality.

    Bone= this movie wrapped in "feel good" paper

    How it relates - with all the desperate publicity surrounding this film, there will be a ton of black people running to the theatre to see it esp. the way the trailer portrays the story [just came on after I typed this sentence..grrrr]

    An aside -How did I miss that Cicely Tyson was in this movie? Sad that she has to resort to accepting the same slave/ po' ole southern black woman in a white racist world roles. She's also a better example of the 'why are black actresses made to look ugly' argument. She is and has always been a very beautiful black woman. Not even Tyler Perry respected that.....not that I'm backing away from my position on that topic :D

  • Ghost | August 9, 2011 12:23 PMReply

    Sorry not interested. After these women pretty much say if you don't go it's tell the studios you don't want black films. I will not support.

    I want black films, I don't want bullcrap black films.I'm tired of white folks using us as tickets for Oscar nominations-Hilary Swank.

    I keep hearing the trailers give the wrong view of this film-if that is the case-that is the fault of the studio.

  • Sergio | August 9, 2011 11:56 AMReply

    Best Black Movie of the Year: ATTACK THE BLOCK (so far...)

    Waiting to see Pariah

  • CareyCarey | August 9, 2011 11:06 AMReply

    Now wait a minute JMac... "Throw a starving dog a bone and it’s going to chase after it"

    A dog? A Bone? Please explain who the dogs are, and how that phrase relates to this issue? Are you say those of us that see no need to bash this movie (before even seeing it!) are some type of blind dogs that will run to any movie that has POC in it? I don't know about you, my dear, but I don't think it's that kind of party.

  • T'Challa | August 9, 2011 10:21 AMReply

    Wait.. Tyler Perry endorsed it, now I'm really gonna check it..

    No chance in hell I see this movie... skip the box office and download it illegally if you're really that curious to see White people save Black people again, or Black people sacrifice their own happiness to help White people.

  • JMac | August 9, 2011 9:59 AMReply

    Eshowoman you're not the only one with that question. I think some of us are so desperate to see a movie that concerns racism, albeit from 50-60 years ago, that we jump at the opportunity to watch it and embrace it. And then there's the erroneous belief that the only position black people had in this country since its founding were as servants.

    Throw a starving dog a bone and it's going to chase after it.

  • CareyCarey | August 9, 2011 9:50 AMReply

    "I don’t understand why African Americans want to go along with romanticizing a time were black women were worked like dogs"

    Come on cranky film critic, I don't know what culture you claim (you said "this" wasn't yours), but we've kicked this issue to the moon and back, but I still get irritated by silly statements such as yours. Who is romanticizing what, a time? And, my mother nor her mother were worked like dogs. And my mother does not get out much (she uses a stroller) but she wants to see this film.

    This story is one story among millions; in one place in time, in one city and one house. Please, pimp slaps are not welcomed... even on the backhand side.

  • Mecca | August 9, 2011 9:50 AMReply

    @IyaToyin

    People have different tastes. I did not like the book Stockett depicts whites as educated upper-class individuals who sympathized for Black and their poor use of language and living conditions.

    I am so tired of white savior films but they sell Black people would rather see white people saving them then castor oil films that are really good for you that don't get the time of day.

  • Laura | August 9, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    @eshowman

    I concur. I am Black American. I have no desire to see the film. I don't want to give "The Help" a "chance". (I would give it a chance if Takashi Miike directed it. But that's a whole 'nother conversation.) I am not obligated to see the film.

    Am I obligated to give "Cowboys and Aliens" or "Transformers" a "chance? Only "Black" films that reinforce certain social views about us.

    Give a film a "chance" translate to "get your butt in movie seats to increase box office receipts, I don't give a damn if you like the film"

    Movie studios are NOT ENTITLED to my hard earned money because they make a "Black" film.

    I am taking my two daughters to see Attack of the Block this weekend. I am also going to see Gun Hill Road and Columbiana.

  • that dude | August 9, 2011 9:15 AMReply

    sonofbaldwin is KILLING with that hashtag.

    I must say, I thought the audience of this film would solely be liberal white women, I am surprised to say I have run into intelligent black women who loved the book and want to see the movie. I mean, only 3 of them, but that's 3 more than I imagined.

    Best Black Movie of the Year: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

  • eshowman, the cranky film scholar | August 9, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    Even making allowances for the fact that this is not my culture. I don't understand why African Americans want to go along with romanticizing a time were black women were worked like dogs? What is next a happy slave musical?

  • IyaToyin | August 9, 2011 8:45 AMReply

    I don't understand why black folk would criticize this movie or the book (which I read - awesome!). It is just a movie fantasizing about how 'the help' were treated during that period of time and how 'the help' responded. Give it a chance, people. I don't think you will be disappointed.

  • Sergio | August 9, 2011 8:22 AMReply

    Forget embargos. Studios never enforce them. I break them all the time. They do that just in case they think they're going to get bad reviews.

    And Sergio hasn't seen the film. Sergio doesn't want to see the film. Sergio did see Final Destination 5 and is waiting to see Columbiana and Drive. We'll just have to suffice what you and our Lord and Savior Armond White have to say about the film

  • sonofbaldwin | August 9, 2011 8:15 AMReply

    #CoonsRecognizeCoons

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