'The Help' Gets America Talking

Box office success brings more buzz about race in Hollywood.
Viola Davis (left) as "Aibeleen" and Octavia Spencer (right) as "Minny" in "The Help." (Photo: Dale Robinette/Dreamworks II Distribution Co).
Aug 14, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

After The Help's first full weekend in theaters, it's clear that not only is the film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's wildly popular book a resounding box-office success, but it has also gotten the country talking about how America—and Hollywood in particular—deals with race in the 21st century.

For The New York Times, fillmmaker and author Nelson George penned one of the most comprehensive looks at the different strategies directors and screenwriters—from Henry Hampton to Rob Reiner to Spike Lee—have employed to depict the Civil Rights struggle on the big screen. 

Speaking in a video that appeared alongside his piece, George said of The Help:

The strategy of the film is to allow you to feel like you are in the middle of something that is tumultuous, but not put you in harm's way. The Help kind of buffers you from the harshness of that struggle.

Is what's in the film enough for us to satisfy the story and satisfy history? Or is history being underserved by the fact they made it palatable.

Any time you have a major popular work that deals with the history of the United States—and deals with some of the more unpleasant aspects of that history—I think it's important and it's good. 

Do you agree with George's take? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Be sure to check out the Social Action Campaign for The Help to find out how sharing your story can help make a difference in your community and your world.

And in a series inspired by The Help, TakePart has been featuring several interviews with acclaimed chefs and children's book authors over the past several weeks. You can find the entire collection by clicking here


From DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment, in association with Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi, comes the drama 'The Help.' Participant Media is TakePart's parent company. 

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