Comparing the film with the book: The Help

A few weeks ago  I read and reviewed the book ‘The Help’, by Kathryn Stockett, and this afternoon I’ve had the chance to watch the film.

Obviously they had to miss buts out but the main narrative of a young white woman helping the black maids of Jackson, Mississippi  tell their stories and publish the book they wrote between them. The perspective has been changed; the narration, where narration is present, is by Aibileen Clark, the first maid Skeeter asks for help. The build up to Skeeter asking Aibileen and then them persuading Minny to help has been excised from the screenplay. While this throws the viewer straight into the action I feel it takes some of the tension away. The domestic violence Minny suffers from is also glossed over. I think the story loses some of its impact because the buildup and consequences, in the book are an important part of the narrative. They demonstrate what Skeeter and the maids are up against.

The friendship between the three main characters is also downplayed. Actually, I feel that the relationships between various characters, which are important in the book, are pushed into the background. The resulting film is a glossy retelling of the book.

I still cried when Aibileen was congratulated by her church.

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