Yes, it gets a bit sentimental. Yes, some 'Ya-Ya Sisterhood' friendship clich�s creep in. Yes, it glosses history. But it's also heartfelt, hilarious and the cast is a dream-team topped by Viola Davis.
If you lived through that time, it is incredible to contemplate how much has changed (and how much hasn't) over the years, not only in race relations but in attitudes toward women. That's part of the fascination of watching The Help, which...
"The Help" takes us on a pop-cultural tour that savors the picturesque, and strengthens stereotypes it purports to shatter.
As in many reductive period pieces, there are no real characters here, just archetypes, namely reactionary cretins and sensitive souls who anticipate modern attitudes.
The Help is a high-functioning tearjerker, but the catharsis it offers feels glib and insufficient, a Barbie Band-Aid on the still-raw wound of race relations in America.
[The Help] is, in some ways, crude and obvious, but it opens up a broad new swath of experience on the screen, and parts of it are so moving and well acted that any objections to what's second-rate seem to matter less as the movie goes on.
Appalling, entertaining, touching and perhaps even a bit healing, The Help is an old-fashioned grand yarn of a film, the sort we rarely get these days.
A splendid entertainment -- a film that makes us for root for the good guys, hiss at the bad and convulse in laughter when good wreaks vengeance with a smile.
The Help brings a chick-flick sensibility to a serious subject, which is more daring than it might sound. It's also incredibly refreshing.