Book to Movie: The Help

Friday, December 16, 2011

So, I know I'm a little late to the party with this one. I was so excited to see the movie version of The Help that I watched the trailer over and over again. However, I didn't get the chance to see it until it had been out for several weeks. However, I wasn't disappointed with this mostly faithful adaptation of the film.

I do remember leaning over to my husband several times while watching this film and saying, "It was different in the book here," or "In the book they did this." However, the details that were different were mostly insignificant -- insignificant, at any rate, that they didn't completely change the story line, which happens more often than not in film adaptations (Slumdog Millionaire, anyone?).

I was very happy with the characterization. The portrayals of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minnie were perfect, just how I had pictured them in my mind. Hilly was a little bit different -- I pictured her more chubby and outspoken rather than pretty and subtly evil. I've always enjoyed villains that are so awful you can't help but be in awe of them while you hate them, and Hilly's character in the movie was one of those characters. I wanted to slap her throughout the movie, but at the same time I was in awe of how smoothly she manipulated everyone, how everyone lived in fear of her and did what she wanted.

I've heard criticisms of both the book and the movie saying that they make light of the inequality issue. I personally found the book to be powerful; it was amazing especially to see Aibileen emerge from being mistreated to someone who was well aware of her talents and abilities. Maybe the story didn't show some huge, overwhelming victory in the civil rights movement, but I think it did show personal growth and strength in the individual characters, which is essential for big things to happen. Small victories precede the big ones, and I thought it was moving to see these women on both sides of the issue learning to overcome their prejudices and their inhibitions and come closer to the lives they actually wanted.

So overall, this was enjoyable to me. I liked that it was fairly faithful to the book and I enjoyed watching it.


  1. I just saw the Help movie last weekend and really enjoyed it. I am always weary of seeing the movie when I've loved a book, but, like the Harry Potter movies, it had been long enough between the book and movie that I am ok with changes.

  2. I was surprised by how much I liked the movie adaptation. From the trailers I saw, it looked a little too slick & glossy to properly convey the pain of the characters and the troubles of the times. Though I really missed all of the Minny & Celia scenes, I thought the director did a creditable job as a book-to-screen project.

  3. I finally watched this just the other day. INCREDIBLE movie. Now I really want to read the book. :-)

  4. @Helen's Book Blog -- I have found a little bit of a break between the book and the movie gives me a more positive experience with both.

    @As the Crowe Flies -- Yeah, I think one thing people forget is that it isn't possibly to perfectly transpose the book to a movie. I agree with you that while the movie wasn't perfectly faithful to the book, it was a pretty good adaptation.

    @Jillian -- I think you will like it!

  5. I liked this book to movie adaption too! But I did the same thing to Nana and Mom as you did to Scott because I had just barely finished the book on the cruise. I was disappointed that they didn't follow the original timeline of the book, but they really stayed true to the characters and all-in-all it was so good!

    1. Yeah, I think movies are always a little better when there is some distance between them and the book, but this was a fun one. Also, the colors in it were pretty. I know that sounds weird but I always notice that.


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