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Trailer For “The Help” Arrives! (Plus New Stills)

Well, here it is… the first trailer for DreamWorks’ adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel, The Help, which stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek, Octavia Spencer and several others. The film, which I’ve already said likely represents the best possibility for an Oscar nomination by a black actor/actress this year (in Viola Davis and/or Octavia Spencer), will be in theaters this August.

57 comments to Trailer For “The Help” Arrives! (Plus New Stills)

  • I hate the fact that the books’ author, Kathryn Stockett, insisted on writing a “fictional” story of Aibileen Clark while disregarding the wishes of Ablene Cooper, not only the obvious prototype for the book’s lead character but family maid to Ms. Stockett’s brother for over a dozen years. I really don’t think she should be rewarded for using anothers’ character and likeness after being asked explicitly not to.
    “Ms. Cooper, like the character, is a black middle-aged woman with a gold tooth who is called Aibee by the white children she cares for.”
    In my opinion, Ms. Stockett is STILL treating the help like the ‘help’. Of no consequence or worthy of consideration whatsoever.

    • Zeus

      I read about that. I agree that there was an obvious display of disrespect to Ablene Cooper. Very fucked up but not surprising.

      Isn’t it ironic that with all the recent talk of how hard it is for black actors to get lead roles, one of them they CAN get is a film titled “The Help”? The author of which treats the inspiration for her story (success) like she was still the help? Sharing no profits?

      Talk about obvious symbolism.

      No thanks…she can shove her movie where the good Lord split her.

  • Sorry. I meant to include a link—

  • Tamara

    Okay. Really looking forward to this feature. Still. :)

    • Tamara

      I will say I don’t like how they “sweetened” this story up. The trailer is too happy and not as serious as the book. And Skeeter looks far different than I imagined her (or how she was actually written). But I get it…gotta “hook” the viewers. Still, the story is nowhere as happy as this saccharine-just-in-time-for-Easter feature. And yes, I responded earlier without having watched the trailer in its entirety (at work). I still want to see it so I can either praise or or slash it to bits. :|

    • thanks for giving it a chance. i dont automatically disqualify a film because the actress happens to be playing a maid or two. id rather see Viola in this than a TP film

      • Jug

        I can’t. I would see this as a play, because on stage you’re listening to what the characters are saying for the truth. But as a movie, no matter how great it is (and it looks really good btw), most of the information is from the visual-white people lording over black folks, feeling empty & vapid while the black characters all have souls. If it isn’t too melodramatic in places, definitely Oscar bait. PLUS it’s just this side of a “chick” flick so I don’t know about it LOL For real, I could stomach it if there was more balance…umm say THAT FRIGGIN’ MOVIE ABOUT HANNIBAL THE CONQUEROR THAT NOBODY WANTS TO MAKE!!

        …sorry for my personal flip out there :-D

        Oh, and on a personal actor note, I’m TIRED of Viola Davis getting one step forward and two steps back. She gets her own tv pilot where she’s a detective tracking the lead character (didn’t got to series), and then she’s the maid in a movie. DAMNIT, can we please get her in something of substance where she is killing it front & center & the movie IS NOT about her taking off her makeup (a la Oprah) to be “raw”?!? She is an amazing actress who doesn’t need to do that mess (I’d put her in REMAINS OF THE DAY or THE AVIATOR any day).

        I do, however, agree wholeheartedly with Carlton about seeing her in this vs a TP flick. Better content, better challenge as an actor & MUUUCH better for her career (GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’ & MADEA GOES TO JAIL not withstanding LOL).

        • Jug

          With all that crap I just said…I’ll probably see it LMBAO

        • haha. i understand the hesitancy (sp) in seeing this flick, but i feel if anything the quality of acting will be good even if the story is lacking. I do want to see Viola Davis in more, too bad she’s been ignored by the Black media, she gets nothing but praise for her acting from white people, but most of us dont even know who she is, we’re still mad that Nia Long didnt get an Oscar for Love Jones.

          That being said, the movie looks Waaay more interesting than Madeas Big Happy Family, which Ill go see at the premeire tonight. Since we’re talking about good roles or Viola Davis, i think she’s be a great Nina Simone.

          • Jug

            HAHAHAHAHA! I actually made a comment about that on another post, that the “usual suspects” on black blogs are not necessarily the most talented ones, and are almost NEVER the ones that get cast in TP films & such. How ironic :-D

            • Jug

              DOH! I meant the ones that AREN’T on those blogs are the ones that get run in white circles…basically agreeing with you Carlton LOL. Sorry for the confusion :-D

          • Do the studios even promote these films on the black blogs? When I visit Necole Bitchie, I’ve seen ads for that Lance Gross/America Ferrara movie, for the latest Madea film, and for Jumping the Broom. NBC didn’t even bother promoting UnderCovers to the black blogs, so why is the lack of representation of Davis, The Help, et al on black bloggers their fault? Blogging is time consuming and can be expensive, so black blogs are advertising what studios (and music labels, hair products, and liquor) are reaching out to them to promote. The only black blog that covers a variety of things is Concrete Loop, but they are pretty much a corporate black blog these days.

            • Jug

              Pretty doubtful Gigi. It’s not their fault, sorry to make it sound like it was. I was just saying that sites like S&A that cater to film as an art & entertainment and not celebrity, tend to give due to these sorts of actors, the same way you’d hear about them (not a lot) on Deadline, Collider, The Wrap, etc.

              I don’t find it a coincidence that the same actors tend to work in “mainstream” Hollywood more. Talent and all that aside, I just think it’s the same sort of “oh he was on Perez Hilton yesterday, let’s cast him” nonsense.

              As usual, black blogs are just becoming known around town (folks are like “Mediatakeout…on HuffPo?!?” LOL)

              Oh, and that includes Carlton Jordan getting love for his blog on his coverage of Montana “Leopard Booty” Fishburne. I see ya boy! LMBAO

              • lol … thank you!! im glad one person reads my blog.. we just partnered with VIBE so y’all will be seeing more of me “JUG”…but yes NO BLACK BLOG was talking about Anthony Mackie and his breakthrough performance. NO BLACK BLOG (MAINSTREAM) is discussing Rutina Wesley on True Blood…chandra wilson has been holding it down on Greys anatomy…i even try to write about these actors and get some traction on these stories and all i get is a blank stare. and Gigi is right to a certain extent…thhese companies need to make sure their new media budget includes Black bloggers…and not just for mainstream content, but for all content!!

                Shit i want a Greys anatomy ad on my blog too!

        • Tamara

          …most of the information is from the visual-white people lording over black folks, feeling empty & vapid while the black characters all have souls. If it isn’t too melodramatic in places, definitely Oscar bait. PLUS it’s just this side of a “chick” flick so I don’t know about it…

          And this is what’s making me ‘ehhhh’ because the book doesn’t read like chick lit. Had that been the case I wouldn’t have finished the novel.

          Darn it. Still want to see it. But ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this trailer!!! *insert frustrated face icon staring at ‘oscar’ bait dangling on the studio’s hook*


          I need to ask (or perhaps I should just search the site), was Secret Life of Bees an attempt at Oscar bait too? I think the comparison is just given the authors, the time period, the cast-makeup and the adaptation from book to feature film…

          I’ve yet to watch that film for similar reasons that many have stated not wanting to see ‘this’ feature.

          I will say that I tried to read …of Bees novel, but I couldn’t stand it. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) The Help sucked me right on in.

          And………the end. :P

          • Tamara

            Gosh my diction is horrible.

            The Help novel gained and held my attention…from jump.


            And….scene. LOL

            • Jug

              LMBAO Yeah, my writing has been atrocious of late, but I’m picking up what you’re putting down Tamara.

              I joke about the “chick flick” stuff because I watch ERRTHANG (GOODFELLAS to GOOD WIFE to DOWNTOWN ABBEY to PLAYER’S CLUB to JULIE & JULIA) but you can tell when there’s that “Lifetime” appeal, just with better actors. I hope this is better all around.

              Full disclosure, still have not seen BEES yet. Any good?

  • JMac

    Neh… not interested. Wake me up when it’s 2012.

  • sandra

    I know this movie is set in the 50s, but this is exactly how Hollywood views black people TODAY. That is why an actress of Viola’s caliber is stuck in the one-dimensional/random law enforcement agent/therapist/BBF roles.

    I am so fed up of these sassy portrayals. Just sick and tired of these crying, weepin women who have to work from sunrise to sunset and look all raggedy and sweaty.

    Viola and co. deserve more. The cuteness of the movie doesn’t make it less vile. I won’t allow myself to be brainwashed by Hollywood any further. I love how the most degrading subject matter is always portrayed so innocently. Cute dresses and hairdos. Smiling, jolly black folks rockin and clappin to the beat of a sweet gospel tune.

    This movie is just a variation on the “White Savior” archetype. This Emma chick just arrived on the scene yesterday and has Viola Davis playing second fiddle to her. “The Help” indeed.

    VIOLA’S NEXT PROJECT: A musical set in the time of slavery, where she plays a cotton-picking slave who, in between whippings and other violations, teaches a young trouble-prone white girl (Miley Cyrus) how to sing Negro Spirituals.

  • R.J.

    This looks promising. I know a lot of people automatically hear “1960s, cvil rights era, black maids, etc…” and are immediately turned off, but the acting looks solid and I think it’s an interesting concept. So count me in.

  • Observer

    I am disgusted. I foolishly read the book and was outraged. Once again, the white race saves the day. Once again, Hollywood refuses to cast a black person in a role of any substance unless said black person is portrayed as sassy, chunky and neck-popping or a sweet, gullible, undereducated, mammy. Seeing as this is a period piece dealing with mammies (slaves one-step removed), Hollywood felt the ‘need’ to only cast dark brown black people in the lead role…because of course, black maids were only of one hue? I shall boycott this predictable, travesty of a film.

  • While the trailer tries to package this up with a cute little bow, I’m still not interested in seeing this film. I read an article where Stockett was interviewed around the release of the book and it reeked of privilege and ignorance. Her attitude was one of misplaced “benevolence” toward the “Help” aka the black woman who raised her. It’s sad, as Sandra pointed out, that an actress of Viola Davis’ caliber is relegated to playing 2nd fiddle to some fresh faced Hollywood ingenue, who will probably go on to star in more big budget films, while Davis is still hustling to get a supporting role.

  • etomi

    I happened to see an interview of three of the leads in this film: Bryce Howard, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. The interviewer seemed to be talking only to Ms. Howard who was just THRILLED to be in a film where the women’s wardrobes were so well made and fashionable. Ms.Davis and Spencer gave her the bald eye stare like she had a bug crawling out of her nose. I thought to myself — Well, here we go again… Ms. Scarlett, Mammy and Prissy.

    Viola Davis will no doubt be nominated for, and win, an Academy award for her role — which just tells us AGAIN that the only way a black actor can win it is to portray: 1) a long-suffering, but funny slave/servant, 2) a drug dealer/gang member whose industry kills his own people, or 3) someone being screwed by a southern white man.

    “Give us us FREE! Give us us FREE!!!”

  • i knew the film snobs would come out and criticize this film. theres always jumping the broom.

    • Okay Carlton, it’s time.

      Now it’s time to ask you if there’s any merit to “their” criticism? I mean, if “they” are film snobs, what class of film viewer are you?

      Seriously, remember when I said I didn’t watch movies with themes I do not enjoy, you took me to task (and btw, you never came back) but now you find fault in those that do not desire to see mammy-rag 2011. Granted, we have a great black actress in a semi-leading role but surely you understand why some wouldn’t see this movie if it was free and came with a dinner. So come on, now it’s your turn to qualify your position. If they are snobs, you’re a…

      Wait, I’m gonna let you slip out the back door. Are there ANY themes-genre-types-subject matter of movies that you don’t care to see? If not, come back and tell us what you’re working with.

      • Warning, alot of rambling below:

        CareyCarey, I must revisit that conversation we had. I think u were discussing how you hate gay people in movies or something like that…:) i ll check for your reply. but about this, i went to film school, studied film, I watch every single movie i can get my hands on, straight to dvd, foreign, pop films, indie films, whatever….(it helps that i get screeners every year! LOL!)

        i learn something from every film I see, sometimes i learn what NOT to do. But simply to qualify a film as a MAMMY film because an actress plays a maid is stupid to me. I dont think there has been ONE film EVER that the Black community was like ‘Yes, this is a good representation of us” We keep looking for that magic film that will portray us in this magical light and its not gonna happen and SHOULDNT. We all have different experiences …not all of us come from the hood, not all of us a middle class, not all of us are American! I feel like the Black community never celebrates a film about us until 20 years later, (people had a problem with Jackie Brown when it came out, now it’s on most critics fav movie list) we are so over conscious of our image that we cant even appreciate a ‘Black” film until we’ve had a chance to cool off and say “it wasn’t that bad.” (Soul Plane is the exception, but hey an oscar winner came out of that…but we bashed Mo’Nique then too!)

        Like when Halle’s character in Monster’s Ball, dealt with her grief by wanting to f*ck like a wild animal (which ive done before) we turned on her because of the wild sexuality involved in the scene. That was probably one of the most risqué scenes EVER in Black cinema (well…if you ignore Jasons Lyric)..does a Black actor only only have to take roles where they are doctors and lawyers? Do they need approval from the CBC to play a role? NO!

        There are subject matters that make me cringe, like horror flicks and anything gory, but I go see them anyway. Cause I love movies from all spectrums, and I dont get caught up in the politics of a film because this day and age we have enough filmmakers in the world to counter all those images that make middle class and snobby blacks nervous.

        I read on here that Sanna Lathan is playing a maid on stage….a sexy maid, and im sure the comments over there are similar. Yes there needs to be more diversity in film, yes there needs to be more dynamic roles for Black women and people of color, yes all this needs to be addressed. But do we have to constantly bash anything that comes out that doesnt involve the Perfect African American??

        • SECOND Warning, alot of rambling below:

          Man, you must have a special kind of pass because when I hinted at the word “snobby”, my ass couldn’t even pass go, I was taken directly to the wood shed. :-)

          But Carlton… now now now, play fair, I did not say I hated gay people in movies. I said, I do not care to see movies with homosexual themes.

          However, I see where we have a great divide. First, I am pissed that you get “screeners” every year. I only get the booklegged copy of screeners, and they cost me 10 dollars fo’ four. LOL.

          Seriously, since you’re obviously a film “student”, we (you and I) see movies for different perspectives, or at the very least, we are entertained in different ways. See, if I don’t like the subject matter of a movie, I can’t find a plausible reason to see it. That’s why I implied that you have your own kind of snob thing going on. You said: “There are subject matters that make me cringe, like horror flicks and anything gory, but I go see them anyway”

          Now, I have to ask… WHY? I mean, just because some folks do not care to see another “mammy” film and all that implies, does not make them snobs.

          They just don’t want to spend their money on that BS. I know snobs and I’m sure you do too, and I am far removed from a snob, and I wouldn’t pay a time to see that flick. Well, I might, if you send me your screener copy, then I might take a peek. But don’t ask me to return it because of what I’ve seen and read about it, after 15 minutes it might find itself sitting next to the Blind Side… in the garbage can. Wait, don’t tell me that’s one of your favorites. *chuckle*

          “Cause I love movies from all spectrums, and I dont get caught up in the politics of a film because this day and age we have enough filmmakers in the world to counter all those images that make middle class and snobby blacks nervous”

          There you go again. You gotta stop saying “we” and classifying people by the movies they will or will not pay their money to see. That ideology is as ludicrous as those that say only dumb folks watch TP films.

          In short, are we really talking about politics or personal taste?

          Granted, there are some folks that say the damndest, ignorant, and unsubstantiated sh*t, ie… I don’t like Tyler’s movies because they show US in a negative light… I am not a Christian, so Tyler’s movies are not for me… Tylers movies are not funny. It’s just a bunch of baboonery… Tyler is a closest homosexual,his movie are basically a vehicle to beat down the black man… Tyler should never be viewed as a role model… well, he makes money but what else should we emulate… Tyler’s movies influence our children in all the wrong ways… Tyler’s movies are directed at the church crowd and the lower class…

          So Carlton, I’ll agree, that form of “criticism” should never be viewed as “constructive criticism”… and may be the voices of snobs. However, it’s not “WE”.

        • JMac

          Methinks, you’re assuming too much into everybody who doesn’t want to see this film . Frankly, I would love to see Sanaa Lathan’s play. The issue isn’t what role she’s playing but what’s the substance of the character and story. At least Meet Vera Stark, on the surface, looks like an entertaining ‘flip the script’ type production and not this same old regurgitated Gone with the Wind mammie BS we KEEP getting from Hollywood.

          I don’t care if a black actress plays a maid just make it a damn good, novel role. Honestly, this trailer and the subject matter reeks of mammism- I don’t like the background litigation surrounding the story either.

          “We all have different experiences …not all of us come from the hood, not all of us a middle class, not all of us are American!”

          Exactly! Blacks have different experiences so why the hell get excited over the same old crap – because it looks well-acted? Please. I’m not asking for a magical film – would just be nice if we can get some variety with memorable, more enriching, more complex, and less degrading roles for blacks that don’t rely on played-out themes.

          • Thank you Jmac, the man was running amuck… up in here. :-)

          • Okay. So if you’re hot (Sanaa Lathan) and playing a maid it’s okay. I see.
            Now if Sanaa’s character was Mo’ Nique i can imagine the posts on here. I don’t see this reeking of mammyism (is that a word…lol)…I am from the South and I know for a fact that women like the se maids existed and had to put on face in order to deal with the harsh realities of the racial climate then. I dont know if this film deals with that or not…i do see some smart comments and resistance from the maids. maybe if this was told from the maids perspective we would see more of the “bitch please” looks you are yearning for. Maybe the author, who i am assuming is white, really though the maids loved her! LOL !

            id love to hear what type of roles you’d like to see Black people take?

    • When I hear the words “film snobs” I think of those that view films from a techical perspective, ie, the always ambiguous “quality”, “substantial”, relative, the right film stock, and the “right” message, etc.

      From what I read, I think the opposing view qualified their opinions. I heard… “Ms. Scarlett, Mammy and Prissy, a long-suffering, but funny slave/servant, a drug dealer/gang member whose industry kills his own people, or someone being screwed by a southern white man, 2nd fiddle to some fresh faced Hollywood ingenue, this movie is just a variation on the “White Savior” archetype,once again, the white race saves the day, neh… not interested, wake me up when it’s 2012, in my opinion, Ms. Stockett is STILL treating the help like the ‘help’”

      And Carlton, you saw “film snobs’???


        i kinda see where you’re going, but the fact that you classify the film as a “mammy” film is snobbery within itself. what makes it a mammy film? A maid? A happy maid? A maid that kisses white peoples ass to get by? ….If the maid was mean and had an attitude then people would be mad because it was an ‘angry Black woman”! And why is a “mammy” film bad? Did Black maids not exist in the 50′s or 60′s? What if it focused on Latino Maids, would ‘we’ (im sorry, but you know this is about ‘we’) be mad because of lack of representation of ‘us’ in films?? If Viola gets an Oscar nom, would ‘we’ be upset, even though ‘we’ (dont act like you dont know who ‘we’ is) had our panties in a bunch for lack of representation at this year’s Oscars? (the same Oscars dummy Mo’Nique didnt show up to because she was ‘busy’) ….anyways, where does it end? Is it bad for a black male to play a gay character? Is that a ‘degrading’ Black man role? Why isnt a Black gay Male character considered a strong, positive, powerful role (Milk)? In my opinion, I am tired of the critique of what makes a good film for our community (mainly from snobbish negroes, because my momma and dem enjoy all Black films) for instance, the general consensus is that TP makes bad films, but many of the men and women portrayed are professionals, have jobs, are married, Christian, and are just having relationship issues. Isnt that the formula the Black culture police want? I mean the folks out of Why Did I Get Married were Black middle class professionals. Why would Spike Lee be mad at that? Cause it didnt have a jazz soundtrack??…..oh GOd im rambling.

        In conclusion, to me, it’s the negative connotation put on so called black characatures (sp?) that annoy me…because now anyone that plays a maid is considered a mammy…any film dealing with Black women as maids is a mammy film…you play a thing (Terrence Howard) and you’re playing a sterotype…how about a super hero? well you’re just the sidekick….ugh!

        for instance, because a film has a gay character in it, doesnt make it a film with gay themes, or a gay film…is there such a thing as a film with “straight themes” or are those just considered love stories? What would “straight themed” film be?

        I am hoping ‘The Help’ is similar to Gosford Park, which focused on the rich and their ‘help’ .. and won Oscars (i think)

        film snobs are the same as culture vultures…no matter what, there’s never a good representation of Black people. They complained about Hip Hop in the 90′s, now that we’re in 2012, they NOW claim, Hip Hop in the 90′s was the best…they complained about the Super Macho Black man in the 70′s…but now say ‘What happened to the strong Black men character of the 70′s” they complaine about NO black people in reality shows…now it’s ‘Black people are being exploited on reality TV….and on and on and on…

        END RANT.

        sorry for the incohesiveness and misspellings and all that stuff…thats just how i write.

        • Well Carlton, it looks like you’re trumping me and I can’t keep up the pace. And actually, I agree with much of what you’ve said… “(dont act like you dont know who ‘we’ is) *smile*

          So, I hope someone else takes the lead… *looking around the room*

          writer? Edwina? Etomi? Observer? Somebody Help! He’s killing me.

    • writer

      Carlton, what you said makes no sense. Jumping The Broom, is a commercial Hollywood movie. Wouldn’t film snobs be the type NOT to like such a film?

      • Jumping The Broom is a Big Hollywood Commercial Movie?/ Really?? I missed that press release.

        But my point was that film snobs, Black film snobs, are the type to bash a film like this immediately, but give Jumping The Broom a chance. I said ‘there’s always jumping the broom’ to say, that movie looks just about as empty as many are saying this one is.

        • writer

          I didn’t say big. I said commercial movie. In other words JTB is not an independent film nor a historical drama. It was financed by Sony, a Hollywood studio. It’s a Hollywood film.

          People are not complaining about the emptiness of The Help but about the POV of the story.

          I agree with you that their should be diversity in the roles black actors get to play. However, it seems like certain movies, like The Help, will get a green light faster than all the other types of scripts sitting in development hell.

          I can’t put all the blame on the studios. When a well reviewed movie like Talk To Me doesn’t make money or a rom com like Something New doesn’t money, the town has no interest in green lighting another movie in that genre. When a movie with a while male lead under performs at the box office, it’s usually seen as a marketing or execution problem. For us, it’s NO BLACK PEOPLE WANT TO SEE DRAMAS/ROM COMS/ACTION etc. etc.

          If there were more films with black leads there wouldn’t be so much pressure on the one of two movies that come out.

    • ???????

      i will have to assume you have not seen Jumping the Broom. It is actually a very entertaining movie. Audiences were loving it at the screening I went to.

  • ladybug

    Let me first say I enjoyed the book. I was not offended . . . historically many black women worked as maids to help support their families. The book describes each character of course and well Viola and Octavia are a perfect fit for Abileen and Minnie. Now the casting of the white women in this film . . . they are all quite glamorized . . . for instance Hilly in her description in the book might be described as carrying a few extra pounds . . and Bryce is quite thin. This is Hollywood . . . I wanted better . . . but got what I expected.

    Now to what really made me pause and think . . . All this controversy regarding Abileen Cooper brings up a interesting point. Writers often appropriate real characters in their lives into what they write. Events may well be similar . . . but if they are not interviewing the people . . . then what they write is technically fiction . . . their version of what they think is happening or said. Should every writer have to get permission from the people and events that may have inspired their work? And what about a show like Law and Order . . . ripped from the headlines . . . those stories are based on real people . . . should they not tell them without permission from the people who inspired them? And would anyone besides a small group in Ms. Stockett’s hometown even know Abileen Cooper existed if she didn’t file the suit?

    • Ladybug, you’re defending an issue that is not the main point of contention. Regardless of who inspired the character or rather or not the story was BASED ON real people, or if they got “permission” from the people who inspired them, the storyline and how the characters are portrayed in THIS movie is what many are objecting to.

      Granted, many black women worked as maids to help support their families, my mother cleaned a few homes, but I do not believe anyone is denying that. Yet, to add to that point, every black women and black man that did find themselves in that position, did not act like “a long-suffering, but funny slave/servant” nor Morgan Freeman’s driving Miss Daisy. So, I am left to believe many are saying (and asking) what purpose would it serve, and who would it serve to see some more of that same ol’ same ol’.

      From your perspective you loved the book. Many have apparently found reasons to dislike it and stated why. Would you like to tell us what you found enjoyable? Then, possibly, we’ll know where you’re coming. from.

      • ladybug

        First I am not defending an issue . . . I am simply presenting something else to discuss . . . most writers write what’s familiar to them. It reminds me of the play Collective Stories . . . where a young woman writes a book that becomes lauded . . . but the book is essentially the collected stories of her mentor . . . also a writer. It brings up the question is the story owned by you simply because you lived it . . . is the story not the observers too? The lawsuit just made me think about this . . . I was just curious about S&A’s readers thoughts on this.

        Second . . . I didn’t say I loved the book . . . I said I enjoyed it. Please don’t put words into my mouth.

        I think we are too sensitive . . . I think when people found out the black women in the book were maids they had already made up their minds. I like to keep an open mind and judge as I go along.

        Let’s start with the fact that if its a book, movie, or play . . . usually at its heart is some sort of angst or struggle . . . a reason for telling the story in the first place. If ones life is sunny, happy, and wonderful . . . why exactly are we tuned in for. I found Abilene’s character a bit meek but as the story grows . . she gathers courage and even accomplishes something of her own. Minnie . . . don’t take no mess from nobody . . . accept from her husbands fist . . . think Sophia in the color purple . . . she is a bit of comic relief amongst more serious issues. The book is period accurate . . . but how those women may have felt was in the book . . . I felt. They do what they have to do to make their paycheck . . . but you understand that they don’t like all that goes on. People are doing the same thing today . . . your boss could be an asshole . . . but you don’t get in their face and say “you are an asshole!” You do your job . . you go home . . . and you vent amongst friends/family. Essentially these women decide to tell their story. The majority of the white women in the book come off as a bit racist, simple minded, petty . . . I could go on. I feel like they have more to complain about . . . which may be why members of Ms. Stockett’s family is not speaking to her. And as for Skeeter Phelan . . . I actually didn’t think of her as saving them . . . She has her own journey . . . but I understand why some would see it that way. I think the Skeeter character is based on Stockett herself . . . I mean technically it is a work of “fiction” . . . collected stories if you will.

        • Okay… you enjoyed it. But you still didn’t answer the basic question… what did you find enjoyable?

          What, “The majority of the white women in the book come off as a bit racist, simple minded, petty”?

          Or, “I found Abilene’s character a bit meek but as the story grows . . she gathers courage and even accomplishes SOMETHING? of her own”?

          Maybe… “accept from her husbands FIST . . . think Sophia in the color purple . . . she is a bit of COMIC RELIEF amongst more serious issues”?

          Or maybe… ” I actually didn’t think of her as saving them”?

          Enjoyable? Funny? “Let’s start with the fact that if its a book, movie, or play . . . usually at its heart is some sort of angst or struggle”… not true.

          • ladybug

            I enjoyed the story. I gave you character descriptions purposely vague so I would not give away plot for those who may want to see it. . . your comments lead me to believe you have not read the book. And that you are making assumptions based on the trailer.

            Sorry we will have to agree to disagree . . . no angst or problem . . . no book, play, movie . . . not a good one anyway. But I think even in cases where you think there is no angst/problem . . . there is one.

  • Melissa

    Is this another movie where the white women look nice and the black women look pitiful and hideous, of course due to ‘historical factors’? Cool! Time to spend all my hard earned cash on this!
    Black women all over the world better support! support! support!

    • Cherish

      “Is this another movie where the white women look nice and the black women look pitiful and hideous, of course due to ‘historical factors’?”

      Lol – “due to historical factors.”

      My great great grandmother was a maid in one of those grand homes. Great great grandpa – the boss’ son.

      Yeah, those women were “so ugly”, yet somehow many of the white men they worked for couldn’t keep their hands off of them.

      I wonder if the book touches on those issues.

      • Tamara

        I wonder if the book touches on those issues.

        Not to spoil, but in a sense, yes.

        But there’s a different kind of relationship that factors in. Not what you’ve stated, but another—and one that has been mentioned in fact/fiction before…

  • Melissa

    “The black maid with a gold tooth”… so sweet! I love white people :)

  • Ladybug, simply put yourself in Ablene Cooper’s shoes. Would you appreciate it if someone used you as an obvious prototype for a book or film, even after you asked them not to? And then attempt to deny any similarity between the character and you? It’s blatantly dismissive and disrespectful, as if saying that you don’t have the exclusive right to be who you are and your claim to that right has no merit. It seems to me, from the article, that the author may have asked if she could use Ms. Cooper as a model for her book and was denied. Or, she wrote the thing without any discussion at all and then refused to rewrite it after the obvious became clear. Either the author didn’t have the ability to conger up a different character or she didn’t give a damn one way or the other how Ms. Cooper felt about it. After all, she’s only “The Help”.

    • ladybug

      I’m not saying I don’t understand how she feels . . . but her lawsuit shines the light on her . . . which is the opposite of what she wants. I’m not even arguing that Ms. Stockett may have been dismissive and thus disrespectful. I am simply asking where does a writer draw the line . . . most characters are inspired by real people. As I asked above in response to Carey Carey . . . are the stories wholly own by those who experience them . . . are the observers not part of the story too?

  • First, I love this blog. I’ve been a silent reader for some time but feel ready to jump in (vs. just sharing) with this post.

    @Ladybug, you bring up an interesting point when you ask, “Should every writer have to get permission from the people and events that may have inspired their work?”

    As an author myself I have to say no, we shouldn’t. However if we know beforehand that someone who inspires our work (especially to this degree) does not want their likeness used then we have a responsibility to respect their wishes. I think it’s just a matter of do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Could the author have told the same story without using a name and physical description so similar to Ablene? Definitely, and all of this could have been avoided. I not sure it matters if we knew Ablene Cooper existed or not, but that’s just my humble opinion. In her community, she exists and she has feelings.

    • ladybug

      My take from interviews is that the character of Skeeter Phelan is based on Stockett herself . . . and her own experience. The Times piece hints at something . . . “The lawsuit, filed in Hinds County Circuit Court, contends that Kathryn Stockett was “asked not to use the name and likeness of Ablene” before the book was published, though it does not specify who asked.” I think this is a family issue . . . she states members of her family are not speaking to her . . . likely because they were presented as characters in the book in a manner they didn’t like. Not recognized by general readers . . . but likely highly recognizable by members of the families circle. Ms. Cooper who is embarrassed by the portrayal is now in the New York Times speaking about it. I just think this is about something more than what is presented . . . I mean the expense of a lawsuit for $75,000.

      I say this because she may have kept the name and character similar to shine a light on some folks in her hometown. Is it right? I would say no.

  • “These women raise our children. We love them and they love us.”


    They didn’t love you. They HATED you. They only pretended to care about your pampered ass and your spoiled children so that they could feed their families.

    Ah. The liberal white supremacists and their terrible delusions.

    Yeah. One of these black actors may indeed win an Oscar. Nothing Hollywood loves more than black people willing to portray the “good ol’ days.”

    • mantan

      yeah, i really took offense to that as well.

      that was the example of it being “their” story and not “ours”.

      how can you say you loved someone but yet treat them like second class citizens and then also expect them to love you back?!?! a complete disconnect!! lolol…

  • mantan

    when i first heard about this movie i was expecting so much for some reason and after seeing the trailer i’m left a little disappointed.

    it looks like it’ll be entertaining to a certain extent and viola/octavia will deliver solid performances but i feel like this is going to be an instance where it’s “their” story and not “ours”, but i guess that’s nothing new and that i should really reserve judgement until after seeing it fully.

    i appreciate the discussion and ideas that ladybug has brought up about who really owns a story, the observer or the observee, it’s very interesting. i wish i could’ve seen the play, “colected stories”, that involved this theme. i personally feel that if the observer is part of story then they aren’t really an observer they’re an observee and they have just as much right to the story as the main observee if that makes sense to anyone. also no one on this earth has ever had an experience that no one else hasn’t already experienced. this story may be based on ablene’s life but she doesn’t own this experience because other people have experienced this same thing. i don’t know…there’s definitely no real answer to this to be honest.

    i also agree with carlton jordan and was lmao @ your comment about tyler perry vs. spike lee and his jazz soundtracks…hahahaha!!!