User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 313 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 313

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  1. Aug 28, 2011
    "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.
  2. Sep 5, 2011
    The director, Tate Taylor, knows exactly how he wants the audience to feel about every character and every scene. He leaves almost no room for you to make up your own mind and so the deck continually feels stacked. You're not watching reality unfold, you're watching propaganda. Bryce Dallas Howard's character is set up to represent the racist white south. But her character is so devoid of any redeeming qualities that she feels like a straw-woman, and the effect is that the movie says very little other than "bad people are bad". Most insulting to the audience's intelligence, the last 45 minutes of the film consist of 6 or 7 manipulative tear-jerk-er scenes in a row. Complete with swelling "please cry" music, a forced break up scene, a "group standing up and applauding" scene, and a "crying child saying goodbye" scene. No movie cliche' is spared. I think this would be less objectionable in a film about young lovers, or a boy and his dog. But when you are making a movie about "the help" in the south, a minority group whose story has (according to the premise of the movie) not been told, then you owe it to them, I think, to just tell the story and leave out the "tear-jerk-er" play book. So I'd go beyond saying this is a bad movie. It is a socially irresponsible movie that sets itself up to be something it isn't: the story of "the help". Peeking through all the stupid Hollywood tricks is Viola Davis, whose performance suggests to us that underneath this trite movie was a real complicated story to be told, about real people. It is rare that an actor can transcend material like this, and the movie is worth seeing just for that amazing feat.

    But besides all this, you know a movie has no interest in reality when the strikingly beautiful Emma Stone, in full makeup and fashionable clothing, is sold as the 23 year old girl who has never been on a date. Change that plot point or change the actress.
  3. Jan 19, 2012
    This movie is **** racist. It pisses me off that it has the audacity to abuse actual clips from the civil rights movement. **** this movie, it is condescending, patronizing, artificial, superficial, and pandering. The worst kind of movie, one that tries to be about big ideas when it couldn't even manage small ones. Stupid, stupid movie. It reminds me of Uncle Tom's Cabin all over again. WTF is all I have to say. Expand
  4. Jan 9, 2012
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" came out 50 years ago and the film (and most likely the novel) are far superior to this film in every way. It wouldn't be fair to compare this to such an obvious classic except for the fact that I keep hearing rumors of it being Oscar worthy. The classic film, of course, has the iconic 'white savior' played by Gregory Peck, but the character is portrayed as a complex man of pure ethics grappling with the issues of his time in a way that isn't clueless about his actions and understands full well the danger he's placing himself and his family in when he decides to cross the hard coded color lines. This Skeeter character is more concerned with advancing her career by being controversial than making real change. In short this film is a Disnified version of 1960's race relations, pretty to look at and light on meaning.
    And if you haven't seen "To Kill a Mockingbird", do it ASAP. You'll be shocked at how it doesn't hesitate to challenge the audience. After all this time it still has the power to really make you think about Race and Class.
  5. Jan 29, 2012
    The movie, had one big problem. It was boring! As I started watching the movie, I knew how it was going to end. There were no suprises, or twists. Just a boring story, with some characters who you should feel sorry for and some characters who you should feel angry against.
  6. Nov 1, 2011
    this movie's too hard to understand..... i think that a movie shoud have Understandable Plot,Clear Motive, and a movie should also be entertaining.i think this movie looked more likely a documentary than a movie.
  7. Mar 24, 2012
    The Help is just another racial movie about the past. when are we going to make movies that are different. yes there was some strong acting but i can't get over the fact it seems there are many of the chessy kinds of movies. time to grow up

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: James Berardinelli
    Feb 3, 2012
    The Help's most apparent flaw is a tendency to paint with broad strokes. With only a few exceptions, it avoids shades of gray.
  2. Reviewed by: Anna Smith
    Oct 24, 2011
    A simplistic portrayal of historic race relations boosted by terrific performances from some of the best actresses working in Hollywood today. Sure, it's corny, but it mostly works.
  3. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Aug 12, 2011
    Big hair, fine period frocks and interior design lend The Help a pleasingly retro look. Yet for someone who grew up in Mississippi, the director has little sense of place.