Movie Trailer: The Help, Starring Emma Stone

by | Apr 25th, 2011 | 3:40PM | Filed under: Trailers

Last week I devoured Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel The Help. I truly can’t remember the last time a book moved me so much that I literally couldn’t put it down — but that’s how I felt about Stockett’s story (told from three different perspectives) about a group of African-American maids in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, and an aspiring author who wanted their voices to be heard.

I hadn’t been too interested in the book before I saw its trailer — typically I gravitate toward sci-fi or nonfiction. Plus, as lame as this may sound, I didn’t want to be depressed; I figured that any book dealing with racial injustice in the South during such a tumultuous decade was bound to be a weeper. But the trailer was much more upbeat than I’d expected, and so I gave The Help a chance.

The problem, of course, is that when I read the book I already had Emma Stone in my head as Skeeter, Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly, Viola Davis as Aibileen, and Octavia Spencer as Minny. (Turns out that Spencer was actually the author’s inspiration for Minny in the first place, so no harm done from the trailer with that character!)

the-help-movieAfter I finished the novel I talked to a friend who’d read it when it first came out, and she was annoyed by the casting of Howard as Hilly. I can see her point — in the book Hilly has black hair and is not the slimmest woman on earth. I’m OK with Howard as Hilly, however, because more than her physical traits, I associated the character with snobbishness and faux-niceness, and it looks like Ron Howard’s offspring nailed it on those counts. The beef I do have with the trailer is kind of ironic, since it’s what inspired me to read the book: It’s too lighthearted. There was an undercurrent of dread running throughout the novel — a constant fear that something bad was going to happen to one of the beloved maids. And I didn’t get that sense at all from what was shown in the preview. I hope that in the rest of the film first-time director Tate Taylor stayed a bit more true to the book’s wide range of tones. Since Taylor is one of the author’s childhood friends and had optioned the film rights before the book was even published, I’m probably worrying about nothing.

The Help was a huge bestseller, so I know I’m not the only one who’s read it! What say the rest of you? Are the characters what you imagined? Are you excited for the adaptation’s August 12 release?

Redbox movies from the cast of The Help:

2 Responses to “Movie Trailer: The Help, Starring Emma Stone”

  1. Carla Hays
    Posted on April 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Erika -

    I saw the trailer Sunday night when my husband (nice man that he is) took me to see “Water for Elephants”. (And, yes, I do have a word or two for you on that review!). I was SO excited, because I read the book several months ago, and had NO idea it was being made into a movie! I am in total agreement about the “lightheartedness” of the trailer. It only briefly alluded to trouble or repercussions from Skeeter’s project. It did, however, seem to exude that Southern attitude that we’ve seen a thousand times in movies from “To Kill a Mockingbird” to “Mississippi Burning”, and which was very much a part of “The Help”. I can’t wait to see it.

    Now, for WFE. I also read that book long before I knew anything about a movie. I know what you mean about discovering who will be playing certain characters before you’ve had a chance to read a novel. It definitely takes something away from your experience. So I’m happy to say that in both these cases I was untainted by Hollywood, so that may be the reason I disagree with you on your review of WFE. To me, it was a beautiful adaptation of Gruen’s story. I already knew how much Marlena and Jacob were in love, and what led to their feelings for each other, so I only had to sit back and watch it unfold. Had I gone in with no knowledge, I may have felt, as you did, that there was no spark between them. The cruelty to animals parts were sad, but to understand that period, and what went on in circuses during the 30′s, it had to be depicted, so I was able to stand it. Nothing makes me happier than to be transported to a different time and place, whether it be through the written word, or a movie, and this film did just that for me. I loved it, and thought it was breathtakingly beautiful. “True Grit” did the same thing for me, and that’s another all-time fave of mine. (The 2010 version).

    And for the record, I always agree with you on everything else – especially John Locke and all things “Lost”!! :)


  2. moviegoer123
    Posted on July 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Erika — I started reading the book The Help. I’m finding the book a little boring and not inspirational. I really would like to see the movie so should I continue reading the book? Or will it be like One Day, where I must read the book first because the film will ruin it? I may just give The Help a chance if the beginning gets better. (By the way, I read One Day and man, that book is fantastic. It’s an irresistable read.).