‘The Help’ taught us about friendship and humanity
When young white journalist Skeeter Phelan moved back home to Jackson, Mississippi, during the Civil Rights Movement in 1962, she had no idea the depth of friendship that would develop between herself and two African-American maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson. Skeeter, who was trying to earn respect as a bonafide journalist and writer, along with Aibileen and Minny, embarked on a secret mission to expose the mistreatment of “the help” by wealthy white families. A kindred bond grew among them as they sought to bring awareness for the movement.
The Academy Award-winning film The Help starred Emma Stone (Skeeter), Octavia Spencer (Minny), Viola Davis (Aibilene), Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Allison Janney. Its release in 2011 was met with monumental financial success and received Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress.
Skeeter starts her book with the stories of Aibilene and Minny, but when she submits her manuscript to her big city editor, it’s returned with the request for more stories from more maids. The maids along with Skeeter met under the cover of night, after work, and worked tirelessly to share their stories, and get them onto paper. Throughout The Help the inner workings of several relationships come to light: employee and employer, new friendships and old, mother and daughter.
The Help is responsible for some remarkable quotes such as “Change begins with a whisper,” “You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” and “If you can love your enemy, then you already have victory.” This stunningly hilarious and poignant film was produced by DreamWorks.