The Help

Release date: 28 October 2011
Running time: 146 mins
Certificate: 12A
Director: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer

Fresh out of university, privileged Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan (Emma Stone) returns home to smalltown Mississippi with dreams of becoming a writer. It's 1963 and, increasingly uncomfortable about the treatment of black domestic maids (the 'help' of the title), Skeeter decides to record their stories.

She begins with Aibileen (Viola Davis), a nanny who has spent her life raising white women's children. Next is the rather more outspoken Minny (Octavia Spencer), who was fired by malicious local queen bee Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard). Together, these brave women begin to challenge entrenched attitudes.

Adapted from the bestseller by Kathryn Stockett, 'The Help' is an inspiring, beautifully-acted drama. Rising star Emma Stone gets her most mature role yet and Bryce Dallas Howard makes a splendidly nasty Hilly, while Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer shine as the 'help'. 

Screenplay: Tate Taylor   Distributor: Disney

You should see it because: Filled with poignancy, humour and hope, it's a moving story of women who stand up for change.

See it if you liked: Cadillac Records (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), The Blind Side (2009)