Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 41
  2. Negative: 2 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 10, 2011
    91
    The Help has a saucy, humorous side.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 9, 2011
    88
    A deeply touching human story filled with humor and heartbreak is rare in any movie season, especially summer. That's what makes The Help an exhilarating gift.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Aug 10, 2011
    85
    The "black maid" may be a cliché. But when was the last time we saw a story told from her point of view?
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Aug 8, 2011
    88
    Davis and Spencer give faces and fully-fleshed out lives to women who must have been more than what they did for a living as The Help.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 9, 2011
    100
    The Help isn't intended to be so much a movie about the ugliness of the era than an optimistic tale of what can spring from that kind of ugliness, about the ability of people to love one another even when they're surrounded by hatred. And on that level, The Help succeeds wonderfully, a warm and sweet song of hope.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 329 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 106
  2. Negative: 6 out of 106
  1. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    I can honestly say I thought this movie was going to be incredibly sappy and cheesy, and was not much looking forward to seeing it. While itI can honestly say I thought this movie was going to be incredibly sappy and cheesy, and was not much looking forward to seeing it. While it did tidy-up the plot a bit too neatly towards the end, for the most part it felt surprisingly real, at least within the trappings of the film. You should go into the movie thinking that it is a work of fiction based on a real time period in U.S. history, and not look for everything to seem absolutely realistic within the context of that actual time period in U.S. history. The acting was superb across the board. This should be the film that makes Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain stars; their characters felt like breakout roles for them. This should be the film that makes hearthrobs out Chris Lowell and Mike Vogel, two stunningly gorgeous men who seem to have real acting chops to match. This film should remind us what cinematic treasures Cissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson are. This film shows that Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard have more impressive acting ranges than one might think based on their past work alone. However, the star of this film is Viola Davis, who is deserving of serious Oscar-buzz. Emma Stone may have top-billing for the film, but Ms. Davis's Aibileen Clark is the heart and soul of the film. You laugh with her, you cry with her, you get angry with her. Its one of those rare performances that breaks your heart and at the same time gives your heart hope. It is one of the best performances I have seen in a film in awhile, and should vault Ms. Davis on to the A-List of actresses working today. Besides the performances, the sets, costumes and all other technical aspects of the film seemed stunningly authentic. As I said before, if there is anything to fault this film for, its that the storylines wrap-up a little too neatly at the end. It also may bother some that the Emma Stone character Skeeter leaves for NYC while Minny and Aibileen stay behind in Mississippi, but at least the filmmakers take the time to address that situation in the film, with Minny and Aibileen urging Skeeter to go against her feelings that she is betraying them by leaving them there. In the end, she leaves and Minny and Aibileen are still in Mississippi, still dealing with the harshness of discrimination. Yes, that frankly sucks, but it is probably fairly realistic to that time period, and there is some hope given to Aibileen and Minny at the film's end, hope for a better life with greater dignity. This film was made to be inspiring and uplifting, and it left me with those feelings in spades. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2011
    2
    "The Help" tells us nothing new. Anybody who didn't know what it had to say has been in a coma for over half a century. But that isn't my"The Help" tells us nothing new. Anybody who didn't know what it had to say has been in a coma for over half a century. But that isn't my problem with it.

    Rather, it is a mawkish, sophomoric, soporifically paced, predictable, grotesquely populated, "young adult" CHIC FLIC. Think of sitting through "Steel Magnolias" with a mixed race cast and "We Shall Overcome" as its incidental music. Twice. Non-stop.

    We need a new rating system, one that advises single adult males that attending particular movies can be injurious to their sanity. Since I was stuck in the middle of a full row, I refrained from disturbing my neighbors and so sat through the entire four and a half hours of it. (It wasn't that long? It sure seemed like it.) My desire, after the first fifteen minutes, was to leave, running to find the nearest sports bar as an antidote. And I hate sports bars.
    Full Review »
  3. Jan 20, 2012
    5
    The Help is well intentioned. That doesn't make it any less racist in its (fictional) storyline based on the south in 1950's America, with theThe Help is well intentioned. That doesn't make it any less racist in its (fictional) storyline based on the south in 1950's America, with the idea that only a white woman can help black women find their voice. The only reason to see this film is the talent put forward by the electrifying Viola Davis and the gutsy performance from Octavia Spencer. Other than that, there's not much here with substance, and the more horrific events of the 1950's seem to be glossed over. Full Review »