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The Help

The Help

By Patrick Samuel • March 7th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
THE HELP (Blu-ray)

Release date: March 12th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 146 minutes

Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Tate Taylor, Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Composer: Thomas Newman

Cast: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer

“Whatever you did for the least of my brothers… you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

People like to turn a blind eye; they’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember. They don’t like to see poverty. They don’t like to see suffering. And they sure don’t like to see racism because if they saw these things they would have a moral responsibility to do something about it. So they turn their faces and hope it goes away. The truth is, it never goes away that way.

A story like The Help is one which holds a mirror up to a time in America and forces it to see its true past and what it was built on – the forced sacrifices of others.

The Help

Set in the 1960’s, it’s the story of Skeeter (Emma Stone), a young white woman who doesn’t fit in with her coiffed, pampered and painfully stupid friends who believe their black maids are good enough to wash, cook, clean and raise their babies but not racially fit to use their toilets.

Skeeter lands a job as a writer for a local newspaper and for her first assignment she decides to interview Aibileen (Viola Davis), a middle aged maid who’s been raising other people’s children since she was 14 years old. Skeeter wants to tell the story of what it’s like on the other side and hopes that when people read it, things might begin to change. The only problem is Aibileen, like all the other maids in Jacksonville, is scared to talk. For starters, the Jim Crow laws stand in the way.

The Jim Crow laws held for almost 100 years until they were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It sickens my stomach and breaks my heart when I learn about the cruelty of others and the suffering they’ve inflicted on their fellow men and women.

Crow’s laws tried in every possible way to segregate whites from blacks. Aibileen mentions just a few of these ways when she recites:

The Help

“No person shall require any white female to nurse in wards or rooms in which Negro men are placed. Books shall not be interchangeable between a white and colored school, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them. No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls. Any person printing, publishing or circulating written matter urging for public acceptance or social equality between whites and Negro’s is subject to imprisonment.”

Eventually Skeeter gets to talk to all the maids and they have much to say about what life on their side is like. It’s a very heartfelt story and though it reinforces what we may already know of that time, it does steer clear of representing some of the brutal crimes such as the lynchings that took place from the late 18th century through the 1960s.

While the laws may change, what started in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in America was just a small but important step on a long road to tackling racism which continues to exist today in many forms.


  • The Making of The Help: From Friendship to Film
  • In Their Own Words: A Tribute to the Maids of Mississippi
  • Deleted Scenes
  • “The Living Proof” Music Video

Although the prejudices I’ve experienced in my life is nothing compared to what folks like Aibileen might have experienced in the 1960’s there’s a part of me that is thankful to those who sacrificed so much for such changes to be made in society.

Yet there’s another part that’s saddened when I think back to what a struggle it was to gain the right for such simple things like travelling on a bus, reading a book or even just walking the street without fear of being lynched. The Help is a film that will open up all of these issues for you but it’s an uplifting story too that leaves you with hope and the knowledge that even these small changes can make a big difference.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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