Released: August 10, 2011. Director: Tate Taylor. Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer. Runtime: 146 min. Did you know? Director Tate Taylor and the author of the book, Kathryn Stockett, were childhood friends in Jackson, Mississippi.
Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
While the concept of racism may shine too vibrantly and be a little too preachy, its ensemble carries it well. From Viola Davis to Emma Stone, to Bryce Dallas Howard as the wicked bitch of Mississippi, Hilly Holbrook; the performances are stellar. Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain are both stunning. They mend one of the greatest relationships in the feature. As do Stone’s Miss Skeeter and Davis’ Aibileen Clark. The voice-over narration that Davis offers is often great, and it adds a further meaning to the picture. Her [Clark’s] relationsiop with the children she has taken care of over the years is charming, precious, and sometimes heartbreaking. It is not necessarily surprising to see how the white people treated the black people in these times, so it is accurate. When Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain) opens up to Minny (Octavia Spencer) and eats with her, it really displays how skeptical these two races are towards each other – and it makes this period piece have a more touching and compelling impact. Also, one could feel for Miss Skeeter when many of her friends turn their backs on her. It’s equally heartbreaking for the character, and the audience member – at least, if they’re emotionally invested in her. It really is hard not to be emotionally invested in these characters, as the performances given are just so fine. This is a faithful adaptation to the Kathryn Stockett novel of the same name. It’s poignant, surprisingly funny and charming, and brilliantly written and filmed. It is one of the best films of 2011.