Movies that take place during the Civil Rights era have become their own genre and one that sometimes diminishes the characters and their stories by making everyone into a hero, a villain, or a martyr.  The Help tries to expand those roles by showing that not all southern white people in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi are vile racists, not all black people are born courageous activists, and that while the battle lines were clearly defined as right and wrong, some people had to do some soul-searching to find where they stood.  The movie stumbles when it forgets to shade its characters and by being too faithful to the book at the expense of effectively translating the story to the screen.  But despite these missteps, The Help manages to deliver some powerful emotional moments due in large part to yet another tremendous performance from Viola Davis. Read More...


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