It is often said that the book is better than the movie and this remains true with The Help, a film based off Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel. The story follows two black maids, Aibleen and Minny, played by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer respectively, as they help a white recent college graduate make it into the world of editing. The movie was a great disappointment to me since I had already read the book.
During the entire film, I felt that if people in the audience hadn’t read the novel, they would wonder why Celia Foote was played so quirkily. A two hour long movie can’t possibly hold what 500 and some odd pages of a novel can offer, but the film left out essential details. The film did not adequately portray how caring Aibleen is and how faithful she is to her job of raising the white girls and boys of Jackson, Mississippi. Interactions between Aibleen, Mae Mobley and her younger brother are so much more powerfully described in the book, while the film only quickly showed Aibleen telling Mae Mobley that she is good, kind and smart.
The book was set up in such a way that you heard from Aibleen, Skeeter and Minny’s point of views. Each character had a chapter where the reader could see into their feelings about getting caught writing something so daring for the time. Each character had something to lose, which isn’t so easy to pick up on in the movie. Skeeter’s relationship with Stuart is glossed over in the movie, so audience members that hadn’t read the book didn’t understand that Stuart had actually proposed to Skeeter. Kathryn Stockett is a fabulous writer and the book was exceptional. Clearly others agree since it held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for six weeks.
The movie was a disappointment as it left out pivotal events in the book and did not delve into the emotions of the characters as readers of the book enjoyed.