The Help

(PG-13) ★★★☆☆

This film has Viola Davis going for it, and she is more than enough. In 1960s Jackson, Miss., young Miss Skeeter (Emma Stone) undertakes a clandestine book project gathering stories from the African-American housekeepers and child-raisers. Skeeter elicits counsel and stories from Aibileen (Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) while standing off against the despicable queen bee of privilege and prejudice, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard). The movie is a very pretty and somewhat generic thing visually, but Davis steals the show.

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The pop culture décor of Angee Jackson’s living room says a lot about her own art. In the corner, she’s got a 1965 Lucky Strike pinball machine with fantastic drawings of suburban women bowling. Next to that are three pink Eames-esque fiberglass shell chairs that look fresh from a funky old Laundromat. Beyond that is an enormous shelf of vinyl records. Then there’s the 4-foot-high thrift-store painting of an eight-point buck, praying hands and a serpent.



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