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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The Help," A film review...

I went to see "The Help" yesterday. 

I was prepared for a movie that would make me laugh...that's pretty much all I had heard about it other than that the book was amazing.  I was NOT prepared for the lump that would remain steadfast in my throat nearly the entire film.

I can't speak for the book because I haven't read it, but I intend to.  I can say that this movie was one of the best I have seen in a long time.  The last two pieces of cinema magic I saw before it were "Horrible Bosses" and "The Change-up."  What can I say, I'm an easy audience and I do like to laugh.

But, this kind of movie is the kind that sticks with you.  After we left the theater and sat down at a table outside, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I talked about it over a late lunch.  We all agreed that was the kind of story that needs to be told and that the acting was superb.

There were so many messages conveyed through the film, from the deep bonds of sisterhood, to the ongoing and tumultuous segregation and racist issues during that time, to the notion of hope and love crossing over the boundaries of skin color and cultural oppression. 

The truth is, watching how these some of these characters portrayed by white women and they way that they treated their black maids with utter disgust and disdain, as though they were not human, made me feel absolutely sick to my stomach.  Knowing that was really only 60 years ago, well that's even more frightening.

The book may have been a work of fiction, but the stories were certainly founded on reality and the lives that African American people led in the South back in the 1950's.

But there was also the message of both hope and redemption and that the gap between black and white would slowly begin to close.  

I can never imagine what it would have been like to live like that, to not have every opportunity to become whoever I wanted and to not have basic rights that every person, every woman, deserves just because my skin was dark.  To have my hopes and dreams shattered by the ignorant minds of those that controlled the government and the people, well as I said, it's unimaginable. 

I am hoping that this movie will lend itself as a vehicle to the masses, some of which may still harbor hate and prejudice in their hearts, and expose the raw emotions and condition of the human spirit. 

Perhaps it will help remind us and create some awareness of our history, history that is in the not so distant past. 

Perhaps it will show that beneath the color of our skin, lie the same feelings of joy and sorrow, and that compassion is an emotion that is equal to us all. 

Perhaps is will allow us to take a minute to practice gratitude for how far we have come and give us the strength to support one another, to continue to live our lives with light and love and remember that every single one of us has a story to be told.


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