Tate Taylor's Film The Help

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Tate Taylor’s film The Help, adapted from the bestselling novel by Kathryn Stockett, provides a unique insight into Jackson Mississippi during the 1960’s. The movie is set during the peak of injustice in Southern America, during the Jim Crow laws and on the verge of the Civil Rights Movement. The story highlights the racial inequality that characterised America, and the unjust life that the help, as a result, had to suffer. It also shows the complicated relationship between the help and their white employers. The author and director grew up together in Jackson Mississippi, both raised by black help. Kathryn was particularly close to her housekeeper named Demetrie who is inspiration for one of the main characters, Aibilene Clark. The author’s…show more content…
In particular, the Black Women’s Association have expressed their feelings about the movie, releasing a statement: “Despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injustice, The Help distorts, ignores, and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers,” Many believe the movie downplays the violence present in Southern culture. The movie shows a lack of attention to the sexual harassment Black women had to face in the homes of their white employees and the racism and murder surrounding the Civil Rights Movement. Instead, the director chose to depict a more ‘feel-good’ film, by focusing the plotline on a white heroine and her personal response to overcoming racism, thus failing to present a realistic Southern America, where white people were not indeed at the helm of changing the racial situation. In addition, another issue that has sparked controversy is that the author Kathryn Stockett is a white female, writing from the perspective of a Black housekeeper, and because of this, critics have debated whether or not she could successfully explore the adversities faced by black women, speaking from a privileged…show more content…
Stockett’s housekeeper, Demetrie, brought her up in Jackson Mississippi in the 1970’s, which has allowed Stockett to bring first hand knowledge to her novel to accurately describe the complex relationship shared between the white employers and their children with the help. This is depicted in the movie through the relationship between protagonist Skeeter and her maid Constantine and also through the relationship between Mae Mobley and Aibilene Clark. Stockett showcases a society where white children were brought up as if they were the help’s own children; these women fed them, changed them and took them to the bathroom- thus depicting the challenges of this relationship, where the help are ‘above’ the white children, but after these children grow up, they are beneath them. This is demonstrated in Skeeter’s relationship with Constantine as she views her as a motherly figure, going to her in times of need although, she can be just as quickly fired for stepping out of line, and is indeed employed by Skeeter’s family. Through Stockett’s experiences, it gives the viewer an accurate depiction of the complex relationship between the children and the help in the

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