Saturday, March 3, 2012

Film Review: The Help

I went into this movie thinking I would absolutely hate it.  I didn't absolutely hate it.  It just wasn't near as good as people (especially white people) have made it out to be.

To give you an idea of the schlock to expect from this film, take a look at the other films that Chris Columbus (the produce here) has had a hand in writing, producing and/or directing: Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas with the Kranks, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Jingle All the Way, Stepmom, Bicentennial Man, Rent, Fantastic Four, Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum 2 and of course, the first two Harry Potter films.

Chris Columbus is all that is inherently bad about useless throwaway Hollywood cinema.  He takes controversial American issues (divorce, out of wedlock birth, homosexuality, AIDS, racial tension) and regurgitates it into something palatable for mainstream white America to view and feel better about themselves afterwards.  Either that, or he just makes plain old crap...

With The Help its the former in that he takes a serious issue--the repression of blacks to mere house servants and turns it into a tale that is gobbled up by those plagued with white guilt in America so that they can feel better about themselves--"Hey, look!!  There were some white people who were nice to the blacks back in the 60's!!  Hooray for us!!"

Nevermind that the blacks in the story are still relegated to poverty, familial abuse, lack of positive male figurs and even have to resort to only getting a minor cut of the proceeds derived from the good white girl who puts their story down on paper.  That's all glossed over and doesn't really matter in the larger arc of the film.

Another indication of where this film wanted to go?  Take a look at the above poster.  The two black maids on the left?  They've been massively photoshopped to make them look less fat than they appear on screen.  Evidently none of the producers thought anyone would want to go see a film featuring Aunt Jemima or Mammy in her full figured glory.

While much of white media played this film up to be the greatest thing ever, black media that had some harsh criticisms for it was largely ignored.

So if you want to feel better about being white, go see it.  Otherwise...skip it...

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