Sunday, May 15, 2011

"The Help"

This is good, because I was just the other day thinking "y'know what we need another of? Movies where enlightened White People teach Black People how to stand up for themselves."



You've gotta love the naked, self-congratulatory (and yet UTTERLY unself-conscious) pandering involved in a setup like this - i.e. how, in this scenario, an early kickoff for the Civil Rights movement is basically a happy side-effect to the REAL important triumph: An upscale white girl learning to stand up to her tradition/marriage-fixated mother.

14 comments:

Rodolfo Gabriel said...

And i thought i was the only one who saw what you just said here. Totally agree, i don't know WTF i going on with this. What were they thinking? Beats the hell out of me!

Ryan said...

I got to see a rough cut of this film at an early screening a few months back and...yeah, it's kind of how you called it.

What the trailer doesn't tell you is that there is, I kid you not, a running joke about someone making another person eat their shit. Plus there is an extraneous subplot involving the most extraneous character having a miscarriage.

Emma Stone and Viola Davis are very good in it, though their work honestly doesn't overcome the more trite moments and the more or less lack of any real dramatic tension. Bryce Dallas Howard gets some nice moments as the evil, white villainess, but she borders on scene-chewing one too many times.

Ezenwa said...

Help. My brain is hurting just watching this. Emma Stone and Viola Davis are going to walk away with oscar noms for this piece of pandering folly.

How, how, how did this get green-lit?

Oh wait, I know, The Blind Side succeeded. Great...

Just Gavin said...

Well of course they need our help, black people can't read, or write, or organaise a cohesive thought beyond "What does I do now Master?"

(Sarcasm off)

The main protagonist being white does kind of undermine some points, but it's not too bad, it does seem to be part Black-Revenge-Fantasy as well.

smile said...

Yep, this is what we need. Another film that dwells on our embarrassing past from a patronising liberal baby boomer perspective. God almighty, don't people have enough middle class White guilt?

The Karligarchy said...

Don´t forget every white person´s favorite, feel good character, sassy black ladies! You know... gahhh... ahhh... I´m just gonna say it... a large theme in these types of films is the "demonize white southerners" or "white southerner´s are stupid" A much cleverer, and insightful movie about race would be one about the subtle racism in places outside of the south. A movie about the feel good whites who envision themselves champions for blacks for looking condescendingly at South for the more visible racism of the past while exhibiting unease around minorities and are also capable of nothing more than tolerance of what they imagine black people to be, because, sigh, they don´t know any, except for one token black friend who is whiter than swiss cheese. I think that could make for a smarter and dare I say potentially funnier movie.

Adam said...

@The Karligarchy

Exactly. One of the reasons people are so uncomfortable actually discussing race is that no one wants to admit that racism hasn't declined as much as we like to believe it has and no one wants to acknowledge that racism is most definitely not just a "southern thing". There is a racist on every street and every block in this country, even the all progressive Califronia. Just ask any African-American or Hispanic or whoever, they'll tell you there's just as much racism there as anywhere else; it just functions in a very different way.

Chris Evans said...

This seems to be a problem on the left. The view that minorities are some how inferior and they (whites) are the only ones who can save them. There are good intentions but it's really condescending.

xXx The Beast xXx said...

Ow...my white guilt...it hurts!

The Karligarchy said...

Being from Louisiana, condescension towards southerners is something that stands to me alot... maybe a little too much. I also think its time for a new take on race relations, capture something uncomfortable, something new. These kinda movies are worn out on me. There is so much opportunity too to do something great and thought provoking on the issue. Sadly, hollywood is afraid to explore race relations beyone the over simplified, feel good gobbily gook we´ve been fed since the 90s.

The Karligarchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

This is why I love the movie Crash. I saw that with a friend in theaters and he posed me the question of "Who was the most racist person in that movie?" There are a lot of knee jerk responses you can give but when you sit and think about it you might be surprised with the answer you get.

Ryan said...

I just want to stress again, people: running joke about a person eating another person's shit.

YES, THAT IS ACTUALLY IN THIS FILM

Gabriela said...

Yes that joke about a person eating another person's shit is really in the movie and it's disgusting and funny at the same time. I think there was no other for Minny ( Octavia Spencer ) to teach Hilly ( Bryce Dallas Howard) a lesson.
And if it comes to Emma Stone I still remember her from The House Bunny and I can not forget. This is bad because I would like to see her in something much better, not only in comedy for teens. I see hope for Emma Stone for better roles in better films. And I hope The Help it's just the beginning.