Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a free pre-screening of The Help. It is based on the best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett. The invitation came through the wonderful director of Women's Studies at my university, who was contacted by the production company and knew that my departmental book club read this together last year.
It is a wonderful film. (You can see the trailer here...) The screenplay is not exactly like the book; some parts are rearranged for the story flow, and a few plot bits are added. Most of the characters were right on; a few not quite what I had imagined. But that's par for the course with a wonderful book that's made into a movie.
Overall, it was magnificent. I was utterly enveloped in the place and the time. I forgot to be thirsty; was barely annoyed by the woman down the row who was apparently eating her whole refrigerator, noisily. I was THERE, and that's what a good movie does.
And I was also in some other places...because, oh my gosh. The hair, scenery, costumes, settings, everything are perfect. Spot-on. And they took me to places in my own childhood! Aibileen's china? Is the very daily china that my Memamma used at her house in Tallahassee (white with a turquoise rim.) Elizabeth's kitchen? Was painted the utterly unrelieved pale turquoise of that same grandmother's home. The phone, the stove vent hood with push-buttons, the wallpaper...all took me back. And then there was the scene when Minny and Aibileen spotted a woman reading their book (The Help, by Anonymous) in the Jitney Jungle supermarket. I almost took Valerie's arm off then. I remember those grocery stores from Tallahassee when I was really little! Amazing.
The film opens nationwide in August. Don't miss it. As my colleague Scott says, "I smell Oscars!"