The movie isn't perfect; it sometimes shows its stitching. But mostly it's a stirring salute to subjugated women who hold their heads high.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Save for Ms. Davis's, the performances are almost all overly broad, sometimes excruciatingly so, characterized by loud laughs, bugging eyes and pumping limbs.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
Fans of the best-selling novel can rest easy: The warmly engaging book has been made into an equally affecting movie.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Both taste and perspective will inform whether viewers will find The Help a revelatory celebration of interracial healing and transcendence, or a patronizing portrait that trivializes those alliances by reducing them to melodrama and facile uplift.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
"The Help'' comes out on the losing end of the movies' social history. The best film roles three black women will have all year require one of them to clean Ron Howard's daughter's house. It's self-reinforcing movie imagery.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
We get a fairly typical Hollywood flattening of history, with powerful villains and disenfranchised heroes.
Karina Longworth - Village Voice
While the book's minor -- but crucial -- details are often overlooked, the major themes are thrust on screen with forceful simplicity, as if Taylor doesn't trust us to understand the stakes.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
"The Help" takes us on a pop-cultural tour that savors the picturesque, and strengthens stereotypes it purports to shatter.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
A splendid entertainment -- a film that makes us for root for the good guys, hiss at the bad and convulse in laughter when good wreaks vengeance with a smile.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
There's something lived-in and genuine about this infectious melodrama.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Thanks to a talented cast -- starting with leads Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer -- the movie is often entertaining. But The Help should have been challenging too.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Sounds kinda like Mississippi Burning meets Steel Magnolias, doesn't it?
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
[The Help] is, in some ways, crude and obvious, but it opens up a broad new swath of experience on the screen, and parts of it are so moving and well acted that any objections to what's second-rate seem to matter less as the movie goes on.
David Denby - New Yorker
I was drawn into the characters and quite moved, even though all the while I was aware it was a feel-good fable, a story that deals with pain but doesn't care to be that painful.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
"The Help" has Viola Davis going for it, and she is more than enough.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
As in many reductive period pieces, there are no real characters here, just archetypes, namely reactionary cretins and sensitive souls who anticipate modern attitudes.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
Like its characters, it has its faults. But overall, it is a movie of imaginative sympathy that gets into the skin of its characters, into their hearts, and, ultimately, into ours.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Help" avoids the trap of recasting a story of black struggle into the story of a white savior.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Appalling, entertaining, touching and perhaps even a bit healing, The Help is an old-fashioned grand yarn of a film, the sort we rarely get these days.
Tom Long - Detroit News
"The Help" is filled with good acting and better intentions.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
The uneven racial terrain of the film likely won't stand in the way of multiple nominations for some truly outstanding performances throughout the movie.
Meghan Keane - New York Observer
It serves as an enlightening and deeply affecting exercise in empathy for those who've never considered what life must have been like for African-Americans living with inequality a full century after the Emancipation Proclamation called an end to slavery.
Peter Debruge - Variety
Aims for "To Kill a Mockingbird" significance, but lands in "Steel Magnolias" territory.
Sara Stewart - New York Post
Occasionally the sentimental sweep of the picture threatens to overwhelm, but Taylor manages to pull it back in time.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
While it may not always be subtle, it pulls off a rare feat of sincerity.
William Goss - Film.com
If you lived through that time, it is incredible to contemplate how much has changed (and how much hasn't) over the years, not only in race relations but in attitudes toward women. That's part of the fascination of watching The Help, which...
Leonard Maltin - indieWIRE
Now comes the inevitable movie, which, in the hands of writer/director Tate Taylor, does a novel about injustice an injustice itself: It turns lite into featherweight.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
"The Help" definitely worked on me as a consummate tear-jerker with a terrific cast, and it's pretty much the summer's only decent Hollywood drama.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
The Help is a high-functioning tearjerker, but the catharsis it offers feels glib and insufficient, a Barbie Band-Aid on the still-raw wound of race relations in America.
Dana Stevens - Slate
There are small moments in the film though that make you long for a movie that is not so deep-dish serious and self-conscious.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Stone, Davis and Spencer forge something quite beautiful, a sense of sisterhood and equality that unfolds with ease and grace, never feeling forced or untrue to their era and circumstances.
David Germain - Associated Press
For every obvious turn The Help takes, there is Davis, the ideal counterweight.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
The Help is an exhilarating gift, a deeply touching human story filled with humor and heartbreak, and sublime performances from Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Co.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Laughter, which is ladled on thick as gravy, proves to be the secret ingredient -- turning what should be a feel-bad movie about those troubled times into a heart-warming surprise.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Is it really appropriate for us to all stand up and applaud this courageous, fictional white gIrl?
Taylor's palpably meandering sensibilities are exacerbated by an almost comically overlong running time...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Lifetime Channel movie with paternalistic liberalism bordering on Paula Deen malignity.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
A great story and a wonderful cast combine to make this drama a must-see.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
If you think the summer has been lacking in sophisticated adult entertainment, don't worry, 'The Help' is on the way.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Outstanding performances and a delicate approach to racial tensions make this film a cut above other inspirational period dramas.
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
Transcends its comfort-food-for-Oprah's Book Club wrapping to get at something deeper, the gray in a story that seems so far removed as to be utterly black and white."
Octavia Spencer's Minny provides the movie's funniest moments, especially when she gets her own back on former employer Hilly with an audacious reprisal that proves that revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
La pelicula realmente triunfa en la exploracion de la complicidad y solidaridad que se establece entre mujeres solas, quebradas, necesitadas de oportunidades e inconformes con los moldes sociales preestablecidos.
Enrique Buchichio - Uruguay Total
I found it surprisingly enjoyable. And I suppose that's the greatest compliment I could give the film: I didn't hate it, even if I was dreading it going in.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
A quiet but powerful film that really does have Oscar written all over it.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Aimed at heart and conscience, novel and film have their overdone moments but remain worthy of close attention.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Brimming with believable, likeable women characters and set against the turbulence of Mississippi in the 1960s, 'The Help' is almost as good as Kathryn Stockett's novel.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
"The Help" is refreshing and possibly the best film of the year.
Jolene Mendez - Entertainment Spectrum
To "the help," the possibility of the children growing up as clones of their parents isn't a consideration. It's all about loving the innocent. But, it's a dilemma.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
This is a generally family-friendly affair which isn't interested in getting its hands too dirty.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
Some will scoff that it covers familiar territory or that the message should have been angrier and louder...but there is beauty in its lack of heavy handed sermonizing.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
As hard to dislike as it is to truly admire, this artfully manipulative issue movie knows where its strengths lie... and most of them lie in Viola Davis.
A faithful, heart-warming adaptation that will satisfy fans of the book, divert the uninitiated and tickle the Academy's fancy.
Jane Crowther - Total Film
The movie is facile, not a little patronising, and it ends up as crude and sentimental.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
This coming of age tale is deeply affecting, magnificently acted and truly enlightening ... are truly inspirational women who are an absolute joy to spend time with.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
I was disappointed at the end to realize the picture was fiction not fact but perhaps that's a tribute to the authenticity writer-director Tate Taylor achieves in this beautifully realized picture.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
The running time of 146 minutes takes too much wind out of Aibileen's sails, but her tear-jerking dignity in the denouement is marvellous to behold.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
There are some magnificent elements here... The downside is the mawkishness and the rambling narrative structure.
Geoffrey Macnab - Independent
It tackles a challenging, inflammatory subject in the corniest, safest way possible.
David Sexton - This is London
In dramatic terms it works a treat.
Suffers from an obsequious lust for stereotypes.
Antonia Quirke - Financial Times
Terrifically performed, with enough humour and heart that you'll ignore its flaws.
Lewis Bazley - Little White Lies
The Help not only has its cake and eats it, it makes short work of the fried chicken, grits and sweet potato pie, too.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
It manages to be poignant at times, though it's not as emotionally connecting as it could be.
Roz Laws - Birmingham Post
Well made, superbly written and emotionally engaging feel-good drama that's destined for Oscar glory in some form or another thanks to across-the-board terrific performances from a wonderful ensemble cast.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
A guaranteed tear-jerker that serves as a decent reminder of America's very own Apartheid, it's fine as a slice of history. As a story though, it's sadly underwhelming.
Francesca Steele - Sky Movies
If you are willing to accept that this is an exploratory snapshot that seeks to confine itself to the times it is portraying and leave any consideration of modern-day echoes to the conscience of the viewer, this is a good story, well told.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
Yes, it gets a bit sentimental. Yes, some 'Ya-Ya Sisterhood' friendship cliches creep in. Yes, it glosses history. But it's also heartfelt, hilarious and the cast is a dream-team topped by Viola Davis.
Cath Clarke - Time Out
Sure, it's corny, but it mostly works.
Anna Smith - Empire Magazine
The whole thing's about as subtle as a size 11 in the ear and leaves you with no real idea about who these characters really are.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
If movies that're all men and no women can be universal, so can this one. This is The Shawshank Redemption.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Part conscience-searing history lesson, part shamelessly manipulative melodrama, Tate Taylor's adaptation sinks its teeth in early and never lets go ... Do I hear Oscar calling?
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
It's a feel-good, revenge-seeking satire, the kind that makes you want to shout 'go girl!' from the cinema aisle.
Rebecca Barry - Flicks.co.nz
A robust piece of storytelling, a fountain of fiercely good, fem-centric ensemble acting, and a refreshing change of pace from raunchy romantic comedies and bulked-up superheroes.
Neil Pond - American Profile
In The Help, lying is a way of life. If the maids lie as a function of their employment, their employers lie in ways at once subtler and more blatant.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Not perfect, but it is very good, and very moving, with some wonderful performances.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
A Civil Rights drama that artfully dramatizes the love for one's enemy espoused by Martin Luther King.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
A chore to sit through. At 146 minutes long, there is absolutely no excusing the running time... a panoply of lazy bromides.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
if you get to the end of this movie without tearing up at least once, please check for a pulse; you might already be dead.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
The acting, period detail and luminous cinematography make up for some of the over-sentimentalised moments.
Adam Bub - MovieFIX
It's well crafted and performed and well, if all the ends tie up a little too neatly and every single sub-text is spelled out, that's Hollywood for you.
Julie Rigg - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Superbly cast and effectively scripted, The Help has been designed to forge a direct connection with the viewer on an emotional level.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
It's a heartfelt effort and soundly performed, but it doesn't have the depth or nuance to sustain its long running time.
Belinda Hazleton - FILMINK (Australia)
The Help's greatest strength lies in showing how the truth-no matter how difficult it is to tell at times-has the power to unite, to heal, and sometimes even to set us free.
Camerin Courtney - Christianity Today
One of the best films of the year.
Roger Tennis - Cinemaclips.com
The interesting setting and solid themes, all brought to life with warm visuals and top-notch cast, elevate this above its flat parts and the occasional feeling you're watching a sub-par TV series.
Matt Neal - The Standard
It irks me when a film deals with issues that are actually important in an unsubtle and sentimenalised way.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
We shake our heads, tut, and sympathise with the diversity-loving Skeeter. How much better a film would this have been if we were forced - yes, even unwillingly - to see a bit of ourselves in Hilly?
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
As regressive as it is well meaning.
Rob Humanick - Projection Booth
The Help brings together several themes that are not in themselves new to us but bear repeating often, especially when told with such sensitivity on one hand and power on the other ... mature cinema with something to say
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
A beautifully observed and inspiring film
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Held me in its firm but phony grasp by Viola Davis (whose dripping nose is becoming as much a recognizable acting tic as Meryl Streep's upturned hand on her forehead) and these other powerhouse actors.
Richard Knight - Knight at the Movies
A cloying racial melodrama that pulls its punches.
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
Tate Taylor's film isn't heavy on preaching, nor is it overloaded with saccharine sentiment. Rather, it has a real bite to it.
Katina Vangopoulos - Moviedex
largely succeeds in finding good ol' fashioned entertainment value heavily laced with social uplift
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
After a very ordinary start, 'The Help' genuinely surprises with amazing performances from Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
In the end everyone fits neatly into the film's view of a world filled with racists and nitwits on one hand, and courageous, color-blind strivers on the other.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Simplistic film that doesn't ask too many questions and doesn't give too many answers.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
It's camp for people who want to feel like they're seeing something educational and uplifting between the guffaws.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
Wonderful performances by all, but especially Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard, overcome a clumsy, heavy handed script that lacks ingenuity.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
There are moments when the film leans on traditional stereotypes, but what redeems it is the ability to expand those stereotypes into more complicated and layered portrayals.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
A strongly issue-based story gives a terrific cast plenty to play with in this hugely engaging drama about the American South in the 1960s. And while the film kind of skims the surface, it's a story that still needs to be told.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Tries to stuff too much into a single movie, but it's good, solid mainstream moviemaking -- and that's not such a bad thing.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Viola Davis is truly the beating heart and bleeding soul of the film, and without her Tate Taylor's film would hardly leave the audience with the rather startling and haunting impact it does at its conclusion.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
A Southern gothic comedy-drama with wickedly observed performances and a story arc that feels absolutely epic, despite the modest, domestic setting.
Burl Burlingame - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
A well acted but soft pedaled view of the South in the 60's.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
has its own revolutionary atmosphere, refusing to divide the world into, pardon the expression, black and white. Without intricacies of the relationships, without the emotional stakes that those intricacies represent, the film would fail monumentally
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Simplistic at times, and flirts with manipulation, but it's also a deeply touching and well-acted film.
Stephen Silver - Patch
Too many good intentions, too many sub-plots, too many histrionics.
Despite a few stray moments that ring false, this is an intellectually engaging, emotionally satisfying drama.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Many of the conflicts play out as expected, and Bryce Dallas Howard's racist housewife proves to be about as subtle as Cruella De Vil. But interesting subplots abound -- I particularly liked the relationship between Minny and her insecure employer Celia.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
While it's a little too Disney-fied for my tastes, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer make it worth seeing. Both should be remembered during Oscar season.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
There's not a human response that isn't framed as either an "awwww" moment of lady-bonding, a you-go-girl punchline or a begin-weeping-right-NOW command. So that's pretty exhausting.
Dave White - Movies.com
The film presents the thorny, emotionally charged material with respect and abundant good humor.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
There are not enough superlatives to describe the best ensemble acting of the year. The cinematography, costumes, interior designs & musical score are top drawer. You need to have a supply of tissues handy, because tears will readily flow and...
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
Mainstream crowd pleaser The Help is a well-cast tearjerker set in a fake 60s Mississippi. Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer give Oscar-worthy performances.
Anne Thompson - Thompson on Hollywood
Not only superior to the novel that was its inspiration, it also may be the most surprising movie of the year, with more than a dozen indelible, distinctive characters...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
If you lived through that time, it is incredible to contemplate how much has changed (and how much hasn't) over the years, not only in race relations but in attitudes toward women. That's part of the fascination of watching The Help...
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Viola Davis gives an outstanding performance, but the adaptation lacks bite
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
Fine actresses sharing thick pressure cooker air: Davis inhales, Stone fumes, Spencer erupts.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
A well-acted, well-written, and quite excellent reminder of where we've been.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
It's not a particularly original story and not sold with much integrity. A few wonderful performances aside, The Help is a maddeningly distracted film, occasionally flirting with utter irresponsibility.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Part moving drama, part sappy tale of female camaraderie, The Help is an overall entertaining morality play buoyed by a well acted ensemble cast featuring a ferocious Bryce Dallas Howard.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Tate Taylor has taken a book of real depth and turned it into something crude and shallow ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
a masterful emotional epic with equal parts crowd-pleasing joy and shattering, complex pain
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
Poignant, thought-provoking Civil Rights tale.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
The best thing about The Help, Tate Taylor's film version of Kathryn Stockett's runaway bestseller, is the boffo cast.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Above all, though, it's an actors' movie. Perhaps the highest compliment one can pay them is that even the caricatures seem rich.
Ben Kenigsberg - Time Out Chicago
The Help is a nicely cast but otherwise pedestrian adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling 2009 novel.
John Hazelton - Screen International
It has an overmodest debutante's aversion to any ugliness.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
The film manages to retain a tension that's often rewarded with a humorous release. It may sometimes be a little too clean around the edges, but don't be fooled by the light.
Tim Basham - Paste Magazine
While it's too long and too timid, The Help is still a wonderful, evocative indictment
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
The performances in this movie are so spectacular that it made my analytical eye fill with tears for the triumphs and sorrows of the people on the screen.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
Even if you wanted to complain about the film being too melodramatic or cute those complaints are washed away by powerful and compelling performances.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
Despite some Hollywood touches, The Help gets big help from its solid cast, namely Viola Davis.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
Has all the subtlety of a baseball bat to the head with the phrase, "Racism is wrong" written on it.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
The Help is Mississippi-lite. This doesn't mean it's not an entertaining movie: it is quite enjoyable. It just means it avoids authenticity.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Written and directed smartly by Tate Taylor, it's a movie in the mold of weepy chick flicks, but with more brains and gumptions than we're used to.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
This tiny slice of the south works as a summer diversion that works out what used to be worked out by reading a good paperback.
David Poland - Movie City News
This is a case where the dynamic between the white and black characters informs the premise of the film, and they gain strength and courage from each other. This is no one-way transaction.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Though structurally messy and visually shapeless, The Help deserves to be seen for its novel subject and thematic concerns, and pleasure of watching good acting.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Well-told and touching, with Oscar-worthy performances by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
The Help demonstrates the conned intelligence of the "post-racial" and "postblack" Obama era, where the anxieties of unequal yet mutually beneficial black-white relationships are conveniently, speciously, put behind us.
Armond White - New York Press
Mississippi's burning, but it's nothing a little race-transcending grrrl power won't cure.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
With powerful performances given by Viola Davis and scene stealer Octavia Spencer, the film is an emotionally, moving drama that remains highly entertaining.
Wilson Morales - BlackFilm.com
A warm and sweet song of hope -- and chocolate pie -- that pushes all the right buttons.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Writer/director Tate Taylor takes care to balance the at-odds themes of shameful social injustice, female bonding and outright comedy in this tale about African-American maids in 1960s Jackson, Miss.
Alison Gang - San Diego Union-Tribune
A tribute to African-American maids in the South during 1963 and their courage in telling their stories as a form of grace under pressure.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
The Help brings a chick-flick sensibility to a serious subject, which is more daring than it might sound. It's also incredibly refreshing.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
The Help pulls its punches just when it has the audience on the ropes and makes you wish the filmmakers had been as brave as Aibileen and Minny.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
The Help will make you laugh, yes, but it can also break your heart. In the dog days of August moviegoing, that's a powerful recommendation.
Connie Ogle - Miami Herald
The Help belongs to Viola Davis.
Any number of these performances may be remembered come awards season.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Some adaptations find a fresh, cinematic way to convey a book's spirit but "The Help" doesn't.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Shot like an inductee in the Hallmark Hall Of Fame, The Help covers an ugly era in superficial gloss that's only punctured by the particulars of Mississippi race law or hiring practices that are a mere hairsbreadth away from slavery.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
The Help is Davis's movie, and it's about time.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
A cunningly--but not cynically--manipulative picture...that makes the canny mix of drama, sentiment and comedy a more palatable brew than it has any right to be.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The Help is historical kitsch, but thanks to a great cast it's a good old time.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Satisfying entertainment that's going to seem like heaven to those who have had their fill of cowboys, aliens and superheroes.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
"The Help" is an unforgettable feature about a past that should rightly be remembered as a blight on this nation. It is a film that at times will make you flinch and squirm, but ultimately, make you applaud the courage of these remarkable women.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
The Help has so much heart it's easy to feel both sorrow and enjoyment while watching such an emotional film.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Almost succeeds solely on the strength of its acting, but The Help cannot escape the central hypocrisy that should have been easy-as-pie to fix.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
Whatever The Help loses in complexity, it often makes up for in empathy.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
A 'she said, she said' array of gossipy catfights targeting snobby southern belles. But that lets the men off the hook, while locating the scourge of Jim Crow segregation almost entirely among these demonized upper crust desperate housewives womenfolk.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
The Help polishes the civil rights era like its heroic maids shine the silverware... It's a movie of terrific performances and rousing comeuppances, with a side order of cornpone for the soul.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
A rare and important film where every single performance stands out. The film finds a perfect balance between telling a tough story and keeping it very entertaining!
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
Provocative and powerful, it's a multi-racial, multi-generational 'must see.'
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
In an age of 3-D eye abuse and increasingly base and smutty comedies, here is a film that celebrates the human spirit and delivers a true cinematic experience. (Full Content Parental Review also available)
Teddy Durgin - Screen It!
What was once a perfect summer book has now become the perfect summer movie.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
...Stockett's long time friend Tate Taylor, who adapted her screenplay and directed the film (and cast his roommate of four years, Octavia Spencer, as Minny), hasn't betrayed her, only the editors of the trailer have.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
A superbly adapted story with extraordinary performances from an ensemble cast. It is as inspirational as it is powerful. And it is laced with rich humor throughout.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Davis is the Aretha Franklin of acting, but this is another cliched civil rights film. There is a dash of 'The Long Walk Home' and a strong helping of 'Driving Miss Daisy.' 'The Help' wasn't impactful enough to be offensive.
Clay Cane - BET.com
With its focus group-tested quotient of laughs and tears targeted to lowest-common-denominator audiences, writer-director Tate Taylor's vulgar The Help is as much a piece of assembly-line hackwork as any Transformers sequel.
John Thomason - Orlando Weekly
A solid piece of entertainment, but it could have been something deeper and richer, with a little more effort.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
If only The Help accepted more of Davis’ help, we might have a work of art on our hands instead of another condescending, half-baked history lesson.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Truth and reconciliation between blacks and whites in Mississippi belatedly achieved, like a dream deferred.
Kam Williams - NewsBlaze
Is the movie version of "The Help" better than the book? Yes, it is, primarily for one reason: The book doesn't have Viola Davis in it.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Thanks to the divine cast, it mostly succeeds.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Tate Taylor's knowledge of the South and his intense devotion to faithfully delivering a film worthy of Kathryn Stockett's book shows in every frame of this moving drama.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
A better movie than you might think it is.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Taylor gives Skeeter and Celia's problems ... more significance through the use of visual storytelling, while the titular caste is left simply to orate their own.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
An involving drama with respect for its characters that has some important points to make about race and gender and the transformative power of stories.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
A beautiful story, beautifully told. No acting ensemble this year has featured so many awards-caliber performances.
Despite its subject matter, it's a carefully manicured, almost genteel piece of moviemaking. The film is paradoxically both rousing and lulling.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
While my neighbor had used up her hankie supply by the end of the movie, I left dry-eyed and disappointed.
Ella Taylor - NPR
The Help works best in its quieter moments.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Although the story is uplifting and the characters heroic, The Help feels like a missed opportunity to explore the inner lives of these women and the culture that sustained them in any kind of artful or insightful way.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The message is delivered in a whispered hush, but you will hear it. Because it's true what your parents said when you were young. Sometimes, a whisper carries farther than a shout.
Maria Cote - Kansas City Star
This is one shameless tear-jerker that earns its sniffles.
Karen D'Souza - San Jose Mercury News
Though the story is good and the performances are even better, The Help is really no different than Disney's typical inspirational crowd-pleasers, even if it offers a more unique take on the civil rights movement.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
Well intentioned and likeable, I would have loved this one had its take on the women of 1960's Mississippi been a little less, pardon the expression, black and white.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Like The Blind Side, this salves white guilt by scapegoating the wrong villains, crediting the wrong heroes, and exploiting the victims.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
When an important message is delivered through cardboard cutouts, it's akin to a Tyler Perry production of "Guess Who's Cooking the Dinner."
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A chick flick for do-gooders, The Help suffers from a malady common to the discrimination drama: its treatment of inequality is more condescending than the prejudice it aims to remedy.
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo - Boxoffice Magazine
We are all invited to revel in the shadenfreude, but in between the snickering, it's worth pondering whether the film has perhaps lost its way. Was 'The Help' really intended as a revenge fantasy?
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
It's ... the black actresses who own this - as they should - and help lift it above well-intentioned melodrama.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Lushly produced, sunny drama about the dark reality of entrenched segregation and racial prejudice in early-'60s Jackson, Mississippi.
Doris Toumarkine - Film Journal International
We don't need to see white characters feeling guilty or oppressed to understand that the verbal and emotional abuse committed against 'the help' is wrong.
Matt Pais - RedEye
High school creative-writing-class ironies of all kinds abound in The Help.
Andrew Schenker - Slant Magazine
The #1 best-seller is brought lovingly to screen.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
No artistic ambition, but the film is an even more effective, big warm bath of a crowd-pleaser than the megaselling novel. Davis and Spencer raise the maids above caricature.
Caryn James - James on screenS
[VIDEO] This is an appropriately moving film that never bows to sentimentality. What you feel is real. By all means, see this wonderful movie.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com