terça-feira, fevereiro 28, 2012

The Help (2011)

After watching The Help (2011), I felt compelled to writing a small post (knowing myself, I know it will not be the case)... The reasons? They are good and bad - this last word may being a bit too harsh... so lets just say "less positive".

Even with no prior knowledge, it was obvious this feature was based on a book.

Too many characters, all of them with their own background, each with their own detailed characteristics, providing different ingredients to the viewers on the other side.

Both author and director did their best to juggle with the audience's emotions shifting between displays of love, humor and tenderness, going all the way to mischief and dreadful villainy, sorrow and grief...

If sometimes this does have the right effect on people, on other occasions it can be forced or just very cheesy... Sometimes it was how the movie felt. Just ordinary, with little interest!

But most of the time, it lingered between good and great, much to the efforts of an ensemble cast, lead by Viola Davis, again with a brilliant showcase of her skills. You also had other great contributions from names such as Jessica Chastain and even the legendary Sissy Spacek, who I recently saw shinning in Get Low (2009).

But with the "goods" and "greats", one thing is for sure... it's not outstanding! The praise around the movie feels exaggerated and the don't get me started on Octavia Spencer, who just won an Oscar for her secondary role. I'll admit, the competition wasn't the best, but still... Winning an Oscar? Didn't felt like she done enough!
Even though they were in different categories (this case being something more like "Heavyweight vs. Lightweight") Octavia Spencer is miles away from the same class that Miss Davis displayed on screen.

On the other hand, I've enjoyed quite a lot seeing Bryce Dallas Howard! She delivered what she was probably asked. A obnoxious woman, easy to dislike. But her success had a big influence from the script!It all looks much simpler on screen when the characters in the book are well written. I guess Bryce as a lot to thank to Kathryn Stockett.

Meanwhile, I couldn't help myself to draw comparisons with Spielberg's movie The Color Purple (1985). Although far from being the same story, they have some themes in common and both were based in a novel. This comparison came only as a guidance to separate a good movie from a great one, being The Help far from the same level that Spielberg handover with his 1985 drama.

So, what's my final verdict?

The Help is a good movie, one that I can see/understand why the Academy would go for... but my standards are high and also quite different from the Hollywood's judging panel, so to put it quite simple, I don't share the same view as some of the critics. I wasn't baffled, but I would say to any people they should see it. It's still a beautiful film, with a very human story and a moving performance from Ms. Davis, that makes it even more worth it!

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