Ok – I'll admit it – I didn't go to see this movie (initially) with a good attitude. Many reasons for that…first of which was that I really wanted to see a couple of other films and hadn't had a chance to see them as of yet. Secondly, I hadn't read the book…heard about it but hadn't read it. I would have loved to have read the book first…that's kind of my "habit". Thirdly…well, I'm going to stop at two and count my blessings.
Here's some thoughts about this compelling and sure to be highly acclaimed film:
I didn't grow up in the south but during this time period reflected in the film, I was growing up in Detroit Michigan. I had relatives that would frequently use expletives to describe people of color…expletives that came out of a heart filled with bigotry and racism. That's simply what it was in our extended family…I grew up hearing a variety of family members demean and verbally attack any branch of the civil rights movement…while listening to any black speaker on television or the radio, I endured as a child verbal debate and retaliation that sank into the core of my being. As many of you know, some of the riots of the 60's were in my backyard (so to speak)…at least I could hear the gunshots and smell the burning of buildings that were going on in a "not too distant" section of our city while I was trying to sleep in the 80 degree heat/100 humility of a summer night. Those were the dynamics that I grew up with…so watching this film was more than an artistic, cinematic experience for me…it was personal…intensely personal.
I watched the film with a sense of shame and pride/praise…shame for what I couldn't escape as a young child growing up in an extended family that was racist but pride/praise in the sense that God heals, protects and eventually reigned in my life to the point where I was able to live my days with a heart full of love, respect, honor and admiration for any human being that God created on this planet. I don't want this post to be an autobiography…so I'll stop in a few more sentences…I thought the film was engaging, well acted, well written and photographed…there wasn't a moment where my mind wandered or where my heart was looking for some different type of connection. It is an important film to see…it will cause you to think about where you came from, what is on your heart and how you can live your life giving any person you cross paths with the personal affirmation of your time and attention and care. I hope to see it with some other people soon…The Help will be on my list of all-time "thought provokers" of a film and one that joyfully blindsided me while I was attempting to hang onto to other less noble escapist fare! The Help? See it!