I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy The Help as much as I did. While some may not consider the story of black maids set in 1960s segregated Georgia ideal subject matter for a heart-warming tale of personal discovery and courage, this winning adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel is all that and more. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, as it became one of the most popular films of the year during its theatrical run, and now it’s come home in this wonderful Blu-ray edition that all fans will want to eat right up – at least twice.
Despite some deviations from the original novel, The Help is still a touching, powerful film with a great cast and story that has quickly become of of my all-time favorites. Fans of classic movies like Friend Green Tomatoes and Driving Miss Daisy will love its quirky southern charm, and is brought to life by a spectacular cast that includes Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, and especially the powerhouse duo of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.
My fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi loved the film when he saw it in theaters last summer, and here’s a snippet of what he felt was one of the better movies to come out during the blockbuster summer season. Check out his full review right HERE:
“Stockett wrote The Help as a way to process her feelings about her relationship with Demetrie. This is clearly evident in the film, which is obviously rooted in the civil rights era but does not make civil rights the main focus. This isn’t a criticism; by narrowing their sights on this particular story, the filmmakers don’t allow the characters to be overshadowed by an all-encompassing message, one that has been sent and, I believe, gotten through to most people (although I don’t deny that there are exceptions). The more a personality is permitted to develop, the better chance it has of being understood and perhaps even embraced by an audience. Personality oozes from every character in this film, and it’s precisely because of that that the plot will resonate, no matter what your walk in life.”
Touchstone Home Entertainment has done an amazing job on the film transfer, as the picture looks absolutely stunning. Colors and details show up perfectly, while everything looks sharp and clean as expected from a Blu-ray. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio also comes through nicely, as touching and sometimes hilarious dialogue, as well as Thomas Newman’s emotional score are heard loud and clear.
The special features are just as endearing as the movie, as they kick off with “The Making of The Help: From Friendship to Film”. This 23-minute featurette gives viewers an inside look of how the book came to be, while also showing how to came to be made into a film. It also features interviews with director Tate Taylor, original author Kathryn Stockett, producers Brunson Green and Chris Columbus, as well as some of the actors. “In Their Own Words” is a feature hosted by director Tate Taylor and actress Octavia Spencer, who talk about and give tribute to some of the actual maids in Mississippi and their daughters. The last of the extras include five deleted scenes, with optional introductions for each scene provided by director Tate Taylor, and the Mary J. Blige “The Living Proof” music video which serves as the main theme song for the movie.
The Help is simply a great film that you’ll want to share with friends and loved ones, because for me, this a prime example of why I keep watching movies in the first place. It’s an incredible story of hope and courage, one that’s filled with so many great performances, especially standouts Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. This Blu-ray edition lets fans delve even more into the history of black maids who worked during this period, giving some reference to the atmosphere in which the story takes place. Fans of Kathryn Stockett’s original novel will find much to love here, even if the adaptation takes some liberties here and there. Do yourself a favor and add this one to your Blu-ray collection; it’s so good you’ll want second helpings.