21 February 2012

The Help

Written & Directed by: Tate Taylor
Full credits at IMDb

All black women are wonderful and all white women are terrible—except for those who went to college, that is! If I were a woman, I would have left the theater feeling so much better about myself, whether black or white. (Not as a man, though. The movie's tangential males are either horny, boorish, violent, casually misogynistic, casually racist, and/or uxorious lily-livers.) For any black women in the audience, they can identify, or at least sympathize, with the film's wise, quasi-magical black women: so put upon by society, but so strong, so courageous! For the whites, they can take comfort in the fact that the white people (like them!) aren't at all so, so, so racist and mean anymore. Good for you, white people! Well, except, aren't some women still treated similarly to the way those in The Help are? I mean, ok, state surgeon generals don't force Caribbean nannies to use separate bathrooms. But only a quarter of Park Slope nannies get paid overtime, for example, even though that's the very first right in New York state's recently adopted Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. What I mean is that I wish director Tate Taylor had acknowledged that there's still plenty of hired help all over America, and that though they're not treated monstrously, they can be treated less than ideally. Instead, he depicts it all as problems of the past since rectified. I also wish he hadn't portrayed black women as good because they're good mothers, and white women as bad because they're bad mothers. (Though he allows that unmarried women could go to college and become writers, so they can tell the stories of mothers.)

Keep reading my conversation with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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