Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Help Movie vs Book

I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett and on Thursday I saw the movie. Like every novel turned book there are differences, but overall the movie stuck to the story. There are a few changes that upset me and some areas that I was really excited to see on the big screen.

Since this comparison and review may contain spoilers... do not read on unless you want to be spoiled, or have read/seen The Help..


I really liked most of the casting.

I am a huge Emma Stone fan and thought she did a decent job at playing Skeeter Phelan. I feel Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis were amazing as Minnie and Aibilenn. While Jessica Chastain's Ceilia Foote was not exactly how I pictured, she played the role so well and it worked. Little Mae Mobley (played by twins) was adorable and brought tears to my eyes. Cicely Tyson was NOT my version of Constatine but by the end of the movie I was pleased with her. Sissy Spacek was a hilarious Missus Walters. A shocker was Henry the Waiter played by True Blood's Nelsan Ellis. Other minor characters I enjoyed were Leslie Jordan as Mr. Blackly the news editor and Mary Steenburgen as Ms. Stein.

Some changes from novel to movie:

-Constantine's daughter Rachel was black in the movie. In the novel she is white and the whole scandal and what happened to Constantine was changed and to me less effective. It seemed rushed and in the novel it was drawn out and quite the kept-secret.

-Skeeter's mom, while cast well, was not portrayed well. The novel has her hiding her illness at first (though it doesn't bother me that the movie has her sick from the start) what bothers me is that she wasn't nearly as prim, perfect and hard on Skeeter as in the novel. I didn't mind the major change that had her stand up for Skeeter to Hilly, but it just wasn't a realistic adaptation.

-Mae Mobley was adorable! In the novel her mom is far worse than in the movie, and during potty training Aibileen "shows her" how to use the potty, by going out to her bathroom. Then Mae Mobley learns, by using Aibileen's bathroom. This is an important part in the plot I think. Using Aibileen's potty and the significance of that act was important and not used in the movie. On the other hand, Mae Mobley does take a tee-tee on one of the toilets left in Hilly's yard ha ha. A funny touch.

-Speaking of the toilets, the movie didn't show who brought all the toilets, perhaps we are to assume the general public actually donated that many toilets? Either way.

-In the movie the book is scandalous, it doesn't show just how dangerous it is and the consequences if the maids were discovered. There wasn't nearly enough "firing" and other "consquences" in the movie as in the book.

-Treelore is not described as much, nor his death's influence on Aibileen, though it is touched on a bit.

-In the novel Treelore's friend gets beaten and goes blind. This was not included in the movie at all, another example of how the severity and dangers from that era were not fully shown in the movie.

-Bryce Dallas Howard was amazing as Hilly. She captivated the mean-girl persona to a tee, but the movie did not allow her to show another side of HIlly's character. She was a good friend and a very good mom. I think this was a script flaw not an actresses. Bryce was perfect!

-The ending seemed to wrap up nicely. The novel was very much left open... no telling what was next...

So what did you think? Any other changes I missed? What worked? What didn't? Leave your thoughts below!

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