Monday, March 19, 2012

Doubly Curious

Two curiosities with regard to the 2011 hit movie "The Help". 
  1. First is a library mystery: I'm a librarian and we have DVDs at the library. I put myself on hold for the DVD of "The Help" about two months ago (it's been extremely popular) and I was about 8th in line. Last week, I checked the queue. I was 11th in line. Wha??? I think there's been a hiccup in our system, and not wanting to cheat, I've decided to remove myself from the waiting list and rent it at the Redbox. By the time I get the library copy it will probably be scuffed and scratchy to the point of rendering it impossible to enjoy, anyway. SO we rented it at the Redbox this weekend and watched it, which brings me to curiosity #2:
  2. Oddly, I think I enjoyed the movie version of "The Help" better than I did the book! This is nearly unprecedented. Generally, I enjoy the book versions better. Probably better than 90% of the time. Harry Potter? Books. Lord of the Rings? Books. Twilight? Seriously, don't get me started on the poor casting, acting, direction... ugh... let's just leave it at: books.
But "The Help" surprised me. I read the book a while ago, and though I liked it, the "terrible awful" that Minnie does to Hilly was just the one thing I couldn't get over. Maybe I'm a snob, maybe I'm a prude, maybe I'm just disgusted by poo being used in ANY way in a story, but I was unable to move past that. Here's my review on Goodreads if you want to know what I thought of the book.

I think the reason I'm leaning toward the movie being superior is just that it was a great example of when "less is more". The order of a few plot elements were rearranged, and I would have enjoyed more stories by the "help" ladies, and less story about the getting of the stories, but the script was tight, the acting superb, and the performances of the leading women were authentic and genuine. I especially loved these two: 
I wholeheartedly agree with the Academy Award nominations for both Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. (Octavia won, Viola did not.) I don't know if I agree with the Best Picture nod, but that could be because I didn't see all the films nominated and I don't really trust old Oscar...

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