I have started to write about The Help four times. I have attempted to review the book, by Kathryn Stockett, which our book discussion group read last year and I have tried reviewing the movie adaptation, which I just saw on Friday. My own words keep getting tangled up in the mix of movie and book, characters and issues.
Adaptations of books into movies rarely translate well for me. Sometimes, a movie will lead me to a book; almost always a positive turn. A book made into a movie usually disappoints. A rare exception is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. Have you read the book or seen the movie? I found both to be rendered so skillfully that I am finding words to describe them hard to find.
The movie scenes come as no surprise. They hold pretty true to the book. I know I will laugh when the word “commodes” is substituted for “clothes”, though I know it is coming and is pivotal point in the story, for Skeeter finally takes a stand, knowing she will pay dearly for it. I may never eat a piece of chocolate pie again without thinking of Minny’s exacting of her own brand of justice in executing “the Terrible Awful”. I will always feel Abileene’s sorrow at the inhumanity suffered by her son and admire her courage to tell her story, knowing full well the likely consequences of her actions. The movie, you see, holds pretty true to the book. The story still moves me.
I still felt the tears well up, the indignation of Jim Crow and racism, the pain and the suffering and I still felt the gathering of friends, the loyalty, the start of the tide turning, a tipping point.
Please, pick up the book and have a good read and do see the movie with tissues in hand. You don’t need my words. They don’t do The Help justice, but Kathryn Stockett’s words do and are there for the taking in two very engrossing ways.