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Love and hate are two horns on the same goat, Eugenia. And you need a goat.


The Help
(2011)

This civil rights era drama is so inoffensive and palatable that it's almost offensive. 

And, like other films that allow white people feel good about racism (see also Driving Miss Daisy) it was Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, did great business in the US and almost none in the rest of the world. It's been generally celebrated for the ensemble performances, but the material is so generic in pushing all the expected emotional buttons that it would take some really poor actors to mess things up. 

I was most impressed with Bryce Dallas Howard's hissable villain and Jesssica Chastain's white trash housewife (I didn't recognise her); both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are good but their characters, like the plot generally, are very schematic. All the expected notes of trauma and emotional uplift are hit on cue. The film is also guilty of positioning a white person (Emma Stone, as lovely as ever) as the inspiration for black people to empower themselves. 

The most daring the film gets is with a scatalogical punchline the like of which you'd expect from a Judd Apatow film. That in itself is an indicator of what a safe, middle-aged movie this is.

**1/2

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