So I am absolutely one of the very, very many who found out from a friend about a book entitled The Help, read it with great appreciation, urged others to read it, and then, when I found out there was to be a movie, waited with both excitement and trepidation, looking forward to seeing a good story with great characters come to life and terrified that the movie industry would mess it up, intentionally or unintentionally.
Well, I am delighted to report that the movie is just wonderful, thank you very much, and judging from the box office reports, lots of other folks think so, too. I had to call to account a local movie reviewer who decided to write a really long full-page review, and yet managed to miss one of the most important elements of the story. He decided that The Help was patronizing, that it showed that a ‘white’ person, Skeeter, was there to ‘help’ the ‘black people.’ Well, anyone who read the book could see that it was those beautiful souls, the maids, who all the while dealing with sometimes nasty employers and personal grief and meanness from some of the dregs of the human race, also gave Skeeter their trust, their honesty, and eventually a chance at a future.
What so many pseudo sophisticates, you know, the ones who pounce on books and movies because if they’re popular with the masses, they can’t be worthy, what those pseudos don’t realize is that readers know when a story rings true. And there are a lot of us who remember what those times were like, those in The Help. You don’t have to have lived in Jackson, Mississippi, or to have been a servant, or to have had a servant, to remember what it was like where you lived in the South. To remember the terrible headlines and the terrible photographs in the newspapers. It took the South a long time to realize that just because things had been that way for a very long time didn’t mean those things were right. It took us in the South too long, because many things still aren’t right. But some things are just right, and The Help is one of them. Go see that movie. It’s about courage.