Based on the novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.
Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends’ lives — and a Mississippi town — upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter’s best friend’s housekeeper, is the first to open up — to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter’s life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories — and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly — and unwillingly — caught up in the changing times.
What I thought of it:
Given that this film has been scooping awards and nominations left, right and centre, I had high hopes of it. Unfortunately it didn’t really live up to my expectations. Yes, there were good performances, but not in my opinion, truly great ones (to be honest, I thought Bryce Dallas Howard was the best thing in it!). Yes, there was a fairly decent plot, but not a brilliantly dazzling one. There’s meaning in the whole civil rights movement that was happening in the 60s and I know the main point of the story is the struggle of the black maids to be accepted as, well, as being people, never mind equals, but if the maids in question had been white, and the story had been about the struggle of the lower classes to be accepted as equals, then there is no way this film would have so many nominations and awards under its belt.
It’s a pleasant enough way to pass the time, but at just shy of two-and-a-half hours, it’s too long by at least half an hour. If it had been cut a bit shorter, it could have been a lot punchier, but then, perhaps the director was aiming for a gentle ramble through Mississippi’s chequered past. Essentially, it boils down to a chick flick with a message.