Title: The Help
Country: USA, India
Director/Writer: Tate Taylor
based on the novel of Kathryn Stockett
Music: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: Stephen Goldblatt
Bryce Dallas Howard
This four Oscar-nominated film has finally set ashore here in the theater and is destined to be a gratifying crowd-pleaser. It is a resourceful reference to the color discrimination period almost 50 years ago in USA. The film is able to find its resonance elsewhere in the world painlessly, even for a Chinese like myself, discrimination is commonplace among human societies, and we can all empathize with the characters and enjoy the theatrical conflict with some well-infilled satisfaction after a lengthy 150 minutes.
From director/writer Tate Taylor (who has a supporting role in another Oscar-favorite WINTER’S BONE 2010, 8/10), THE HELP interweaves a lively portrait of the bitterness and felicity of the lives of black helps, through a young white girl’s intervention to harness their stories as the source materials for her book.
Maybe one can argue that all the twist-and-turn is too hoary for the audience in the 21st century, but propped by an all-out effort from a superb cast, the film miraculously enjoyable and the epiphany comes with a perfect tempo, arguably a supporting role, Viola Davis demos a tenacious mojo on screen and her emotional flare-up is wondrous to watch, Octavia, Bryce, Jessica are among the elites of the nearly all-female supporting groups (Viola and Octavia is my current win in the leading and supporting actress respectively), and old hands like Allison, Sissy, Cicely and Mary also showcase their meticulous scene-stealer dexterity. All these accompaniments has induced that Emma Stone’s appearing leading role awkwardly being eclipsed by her co-stars and her performance is nevertheless a safely touching one with somewhat abating stringency.
The film has a winning charm in its refined settings and costumes, it has everything we can expect from an orthodox Hollywood drama feature without any sumptuous bravura, it deserves the crown as the highest domestic grossing ($169,598,523) film among all 9 BEST PICTURE nominated films in 2011.