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The Help meets The Big Screen

I hopped along to the Cambridge Film Festival this weekend to catch a screening of The Help on the final day. As you may know from this gushing post, I adored the book and have lent it to many people since finishing it, with "You HAVE to read this" on a post-it on the front. When I heard it was being made into a film I was wary - and you will probably know the familiar sense of foreboding if any of your favourite books have been made into 1.5hr visuals. *coughGoldenCompasscough* However, Emma Stone was cast as Skeeter and this gave me hope. I l.o.v.e Emma Stone.


And oh my daiz... It was actually good. I sat there as the credits played in stunned silence and appreciation. If I was Kathryn Stockett I would be one mega-happy woman! Few minor points aside (I'll get to these later) the film was everything the book was. The characters were so well cast (Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly... who knew such a sweet actress could be so downright nasty?!), and it was great to see real lines from the book used in the dialogue. Very few plot events were missed and the emotions soared and plummeted with great feeling. I think I could watch it again right now!

However, there were one or two things I found a bit strange. They didn't detriment the film or the book really, I just found them to be odd decisions... And those were plot changes. If you haven't read or seen The Help yet, please be aware there are spoilers ahead.

The strangest plot change was the decision to change Constantine's daughter from being white, to being a stong minded black lady. I have tried thinking why this would have been changed but the only thing I could come up with is that they didn't have the extra 5 minutes it would have taken to explain... But as a result of the plot change, Constantine's dismissal wasn't quite as momentous as in the book.

Also, the decision to have Skeeter's mother accept that Skeeter wants to write, and be happy that she wrote The Help. I can only assume they wanted the "I'm proud of you" moment for Hollywood audiences. I'm also puzzled by the way they left the mother's illness with a "she's better now" message. The woman had cancer, in the 60s - I'm pretty sure the ability to overcome it without treatment back then was one in a million?

But like I say - they were very small things far outweighed by the brilliance of the rest of it. The relationship between Minnie and Celia, for instance, was so great to watch. Please buy a tacket and see it for yourself, you won't regret it.

Oh, and here's a little fact for you: The Help was rejected 60 times before it was eventually published. And I thought Harry Potter's rejection rate was bad...

2 comments

  1. Do you know what? I didn't realise that in the book Skeeter's mother dies - I honestly thought she got better. I have to reread methinks before I watch the film.

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  2. I think it may just be my interpretation, now that you've said that! - When Skeeter appears in a black dress and headscarf at the end, I took it to mean she had died. But her mother said she would "never approve of Skeeters writing", alive or dead, so I still think it was for the "I'm proud" moment the audience would have wanted :P

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