The Help Movie Essay

The Help Movie Essay-87
She stalks their social media, annoying her boss, played by a grumpy Allison Janney.Sometimes, she shows up at their hangout spot unannounced.

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Octavia Spencer as Jackson, squinting witheringly at her employer, Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), when the poor moll suggests that they burn the fried chicken a little so that Foote’s husband might be duped into thinking she and not Minnie had made it?

That was not Spencer’s complacent portrayal of a mammy figure but her sly wink at the cinematic ghosts of Hattie Mc Daniel and Louise Beavers.

The garbled and timid movie is one of the few mainstream horror films to star a black woman, the media coverage announces, but that does not mean we should mistake it for being a contribution to black horror.“Ma” was predominantly shot in Natchez, Mississippi, a short drive from where Taylor lives and runs his production company, Wyolah Films.

(The business shares a name with Taylor’s residence, Wyolah Plantation, the antebellum structure euphemistically referred to as “Mississippi Mansion” in a profile in , from 2016.) “Ma,” tellingly, is set not in the South but in Ohio.

This feeling intensified with the release, in February, of the trailer for Taylor and Spencer’s fifth project together, the revenge thriller “Ma,” in which Spencer stars as a troubled woman exacting violence on a band of (mostly) white teen-agers.

This new film, made with the horror production company Blumhouse, seemed like it might retroactively darken “The Help,” revealing its sassy liberal picture to have been, all along, a slightly sadistic work of performance art.

The film begins with Maggie (Diana Silvers), a white teen-ager who has moved with her single mother, Erica (Juliette Lewis), to Erica’s suburban home town.

Erica, who finds a job at the town casino, is too overworked to be vigilant.

“She had expressed to me she was frustrated,” Taylor told the A.

P., adding, “Women of color just don’t get the lead unless they’re a slave or a maid.” But Spencer emphasized that the things Taylor changed “weren’t based on race.” She continued, “It was just giving her a backstory, to give her a reason, in her mind, as to why she takes such a dark turn.” Somehow, the film promises that Sue Ann’s race will be pivotal and ends up rendering it all but inconsequential.


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