The Help (2011) Film Review

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It’s the 1960s and Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) has returned to her home in Jackson, Mississippi after completing college. She takes a job at the paper writing a cleaning column, however having had a maid throughout her life, she needs help. Enlisting the assistance of one of her childhood friend’s maids, Aibileen, she becomes aware of the attitude of the rich, white families to their staff. Surreptitiously, she collects the stories of the maids which is published in a book that becomes a best seller, but which promises to shock all of Jackson.

It’s a good film. (I’ve heard that the book is marvellous, and someday, I will get to that). It has heart and struggle. Look, I’ve seen a lot of films that tell stories of the deep south prior to the civil rights movement, and this isn’t one of the most hardhitting. It’s entertaining and it tells a good story. Does it need to be more than that?

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) – Film Review

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I think this film nearly killed me. It nearly killed me because it really got me emotionally.

It’s about a quiet guy, Charlie (Logan Lerman), who is starting high school after a stretch in a psych ward, although we don’t know why. He is trying to get through when he accidentally makes friends with Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam(Emma Watson) and stumbles into a social life. But the demons that haunt him won’t stay hidden forever.

Charlie is tormented, and Logan Lerman brings out that torment so well, pulling at my heartstrings. And Emma Watson, oh bravo. I wondered what would happen with those Harry Potter kids. I thought she was fabulous in this – the character of Sam could very easily been a Manic Pixie Dream Girl*, but despite the tunnel scene that is crucial to the film but drove me nuts, she was believable.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is going to be up there with other not-quite-sadtacular films, like Garden State and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for films that I should watch when I need to connect with my tears. Although this is nowhere near knocking off Eternal Sunshine from the number one spot in my heart.

*think Natalie Portman in Garden State, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer and other kind of flighty silly but quirky (and often really annoying) female love interests