Wednesday, August 17, 2011

GirlDidYouSee The Help

Part 1 - BFFs discuss their opposing reactions to The Help, the "joys" of frying chicken, etc.

Part 2 - BFFs continue their discussion of The Help, hash out their opposing viewpoints, analyze character development (or lack thereof), debate the "feel-good" aspect of the film, and discuss The Terrible Awful (shit cake).

Part 3 - BFFs wrap up their opposing reactions to the film The Help. As two black women who were born and raised in the south, they speak on how they relate to some aspects of the film.

Do you agree or disagree with anything you heard in our videos? What is your reaction to The Help?


Adriane said...

I've been thinking and talking about this post--and all three videos--for days. Here are somethings that have come up.

1. Is Minny sadistic? I don't think so. The world in which she lives is sadistic. Her reaction to it seems quite measured. She could have poisoned the woman. She could have crushed glass and fed it to her on a regular basis until she bled to death. Instead, she just fed her some human solid waste that didn't even make her sick. Seems rather measured to me.

2. Frying chicken is too much work. It is decidedly NOT fun or joyful. But cooking in general is the one way I find accomplishment in my life. A project started and finished with delicious results. So I can see the character's point.

3. The author knew Octavia Spencer before the book was written and used some of her personality in the writing of Minnie. So is Minnie a caricature? Or is Octavia, with her naturally big eyes, just saucy?

This format is so real. It's got everything that we have in our private discourse--humor, anxiety, frustration, affection. Thank you!

Summer Breeze said...

Yay! Thanks for commenting, Adriane.

1. You know, I'll agree that Minnie is not sadistic, and undoubtedly, the world around her is. However, there is something that is just not sitting well with me about it beyond just the unrealisticness (that's not a word) of the scene--she would have been beaten to death. Maybe I'm overthinking it.

2. That fried chicken scene was a cheap stereotype brought to life. I stand by that. LOL

3. Minnie is the Mammy character brought to life. She is large, sassy, shiny, and wide-eyed. While that may be Ms. Spencer's natural disposition, putting it in the context of servitude to whites adds a whole new layer. She was chosen to portray this role for a specific reason: she fit the caricature that the author and many others are so fond of and could bring it to life and reinforce it.


Deja said...

Wow! Ladies, I really enjoyed your videos! I was so glad that someone actually shared my....'feelings'for this movie.

I understand the 'artistic' nature of this movie as the sis'tah on the left[SOTL] speaks of. But the 'reality' is with the sis'tah on the right[SOTR]. I apologize, I don't know your names.

Racism is NOT something to feel good about! That was the first mistake! No.2 racism is NOT funny! #3 Frying chicken don't make you feel that good, unless you are the customer on the other side of the counter at KFC.

But seriously, to me, SOTL felt what 'THEY' wanted everyone to FEEL, that warm fuzzy, everything is right with the world. Ok I get that. I scoured through page after page of 5-star reviews looking for someone like me and here I am.

It takes a different kinda 'eye' to see the unseen. It is the unseen that is missing from this movie. The unseen son, the unseen strong Black man, the unseen Black character developments. The unseen real strength. They wanted us to be portrayed as weak, so the whites don't have to be afraid, and then in rides the great white hope, another white savior of the poor colored folk.

The worst part is the... Don't Worry Be Happy bull they FORCED upon us. Uh Minnie left Leroy, but what abt all those kids she's got to raise alone, DWBH. Abileen doesn't have a job, DWBH. All those maid will have to face their racist employers, DWBH. The girl in prison, DWBH.

Black folk been making White folk laugh and feel good for a long time with our big eyes and teethy grins. It makes them comfortable. Now they can finally be comfortable with racism and we are condoning it.

Dana Maldonado said...

I read The Help years ago when it first came out, so my memories of the book have faded, but as I watched the movie I did think a couple things were important to point out.
1) The characters were completely underdeveloped, resulting in Summer's very astute observation of Minnie being just the comic relief. Even the white girls were just caricatures, white trash, mean bitch, etc . . .
2) The new maid that took the position after Minnie didn't steal the ring in book. Her church took up a collection for her. The book used the occasion to show how difficult it was to get the funds to send two promising young black boys to college, while the movie used it as way to have a jail scene where all the black women laughed about reading about shit pie.
3) Constantine was sent away because her daughter, Rachel, showed up, and looked completely white, and Skeeter's mom realized that her husband was Rachel's father. Rather than deal with the topic of coerced sex with the "help," the producers made the movie much more palatable to the sensibilities of the viewership. Which was a pity. Because it ended up having a lot of cheesy moments in the movie like the fried chicken moment.
-While I enjoyed it because it reminded me of how much I loved the book, the movie is just a pale shadow designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. The Help is a short, quick read, you can do it over a weekend if you don't have kids, a week if you do. Highly recommend it.

Summer Breeze said...

@Deja - Hi! Thanks for checking out our videos and sharing your viewpoint. I'm glad you could relate to us! I agree that the great white savior trope is tired, and should really be REtired. I didn't even think about Millie having to raise the children alone. Yet another glossed over factor. There were far too many things left unsettled.

Please keep stopping by! We look forward to hearing more from you.

-EssBreezyBaby aka SOTR ;-)

Summer Breeze said...

@Dana - You have really answered a HUGE question that I had regarding the book and the movie. Just those three things you point out are major changes that really contributed to my distaste for the movie as a whole. You've done the unthinkable and actually convinced me to read it, because, based on the movie, I was so over The Help.

I know the director (or maybe he was the producer) was a friend of the author's, but I wonder if she has given her thoughts on the film version of her book. Was she satisfied?

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