The Help


A superb cast plays it safe

This cosy, warm adap of Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller, about the entwined worlds of African-American maids and their Southern white employers as the civil-rights era looms, plays it safe with volatile emotions, saucy humour and broken dreams.

But it’s kept compulsively watchable by a teeming cast: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as the maids; Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain as the belles with conflicting attitudes towards racial harmony.

For all its hot-button pressing (racism, miscarriage), The Help is better suited to a wet Sunday night than an Oscar podium.

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