Director: Tate Taylor. Cast: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek. 146 min. Rated PG-13. USA/India/UAE. Drama.
Initially looks like another heart-wrenching drama about racism in the 60s, but then The Help expands into something far more thought-provoking. It's a picture of how not only African-Americans, but any ostracized group of human beings should react to a demeaning, exploiting power. It also provokes subtle questions along the way, such as: If a maid (not a slave) is told to leave a room, is she allowed to disobey, just because she feels disrespected? Not since Steel Magnolias do I remember a similar all-star female cast, with Bryce Dallas Howard playing one hellava memorable villain.
PS: The Tree of Life, The Debt, Take Shelter, and The Help. Jessica Chastain (similar to Michael Fassbender) has been one of the great discoveries of 2011.