Set under the blazing Mississippi sun, “The Help” is attracting some heat of its own — based on buzz so far, it’s sure to to burn up box offices this weekend.
“The Help,” a film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, tells the story of two African-American maids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer) who work in white households, and the aspiring young journalist (Emma Stone) who dares to tell their story. Critics concur that the movie delivers a powerful emotional punch — but some wish the blow was a little less blunt.
The New York Daily News’ Elizabeth Weitzmen calls the film “impactful in parts, but noticeably lacking in Stockett’s instinctive nuance,” while David Denby of the New Yorker says that “The Help” is “in some ways, crude and obvious, but … parts of it are so moving and well acted that any objections to what’s second-rate seem to matter less as the movie goes on.”
Praise for the lead actresses is unanimous. Slate’s Dana Stevens calls leads Davis and Spencer “tremendous.” David Edelstein gushes that Davis “gives this too-soft movie a spine” with her “tough, beautifully judged performance.”
Does this movie’s simple story do justice to its complicated setting? See “The Help” this weekend to decide for yourself.
Also opening this weekend:
»”Final Destination 5”: The fifth installment of the teen horror series finds yet another group of teens doomed to bizarre, grizzly deaths. One critic calls Final Destination 5 “the best sequel in the bunch,” while others condemn the “anemic installment” to the franchise that’s purely “content with giving viewers more of the same.”
»”30 Minutes or Less”: From the makers of Zombieland comes another wacky action-comedy. This time, a pizza delivery boy (Jesse Eisenburg) must rob a bank after being kidnapped by two thugs. Claudia Plug says the movie “wallows in stupidity without making the bromance bonds believable,” but with a run time of only 83 minutes, critic Gary Thompson praises “30 Minutes or Less” as “fast, foul and frequently funny.”
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— Matthew Schantz
Image from the film’s official site.