THE HELP: Rant One

Although based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett, the screen version of The Help was written & directed by Tate Taylor, so it doesn’t fall into the “women filmmaker” category (which requires a woman either directing &/or writing the screenplay).  So it’s not in Penny’s niche, & she’s not obligated to write a review of it here.  But some men are so stupid that I’ve decided to rant a bit.  Here’s “Rant One.” (Click HERE for Rant Two.)

In the first paragraph of his review (called “Maids of Honor“), The New Yorker’s David Denby describes the subject of The Help as follows: “what black women working for wealthy white families in Mississippi in the early nineteen-sixties felt about their lives and about their female employers.”

Now let’s just assume that Denby (who is a bit older than me) has seen most of the same movies I’ve seen, from Gone With The Wind through Gosford Park to Atonement and beyond (not to mention beloved TV series like Upstairs Downstairs and Brideshead Revisited and then some).  Having spent so much screen time in the company of genuinely wealthy people, he should know that wealthy women don’t run their households on the labor of one domestic who comes every morning & leaves every night.

Does he really need me to tell him these families are upper middle class (at best), and “wealthy” only in comparison to those they employ? If so, that can only be because he’s done so little domestic labor himself that he lives in the ignorant bliss that black women have superpowers which make the full staff of a genuinely wealthy home (be it American, British, or anywhere else) totally unnecessary.

Shame on you, David Denby!

“Aibi” (Viola Davis) tending to the Bridge Club.

Click here for our FF2 Haiku.

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    Hi Jan,

    I read your two rants on The Help. It has stirred up quite a bit of controversy so it will be interesting to see how things play out come Oscar time.

    The movie that I couldn’t remember the name of is “I Will Follow”. The film maker is Ava Duvernay. Her company is AFFRM. Another film that played to limited release was “Mississippi Danmed” which was written and directed by Tina Mabry.

    It was good talking with you.

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