Box art for The Help

The Help

  • Rated PG13
  • HD and SD formats available


The Help is an inspirational story about very different women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project. Filled with poignancy and humor, The Help is a timeless story about the ability to create change.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5

Poignant, thought-provoking civil rights tale.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this emotionally intense adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's best-selling civil rights-era novel isn't likely to appeal to young kids but is a historically relevant drama that mature tweens and teens can see with their parents. The film not only teaches about segregation and the importance of racial equality, but it also shows how oppressed people have important stories to tell. The language is tame for a PG-13 movie except for the word "s--t," which is used several times, and one casual use of the "N" word by a bus driver. African Americans are referred to as "negro," and a grown-up restaurant worker is called "boy" by white patrons. There's no graphic violence, but a character is obviously physically abused by her husband, and a woman has a miscarriage, leaving her in a pool of her blood. Reflecting the '60s setting, almost everyone (even a pregnant woman) smokes cigarettes and drinks.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the movie depicts African Americans' struggle for racial equality. How accurate do you think it is? How could you find out more about this part of history?
  • Are the characters realistic? Do you consider any of them to be stereotypes? If so, why?
  • Some have criticized Stockett's story for making a white character central to the civil rights movement. How is the movie sensitive to this issue? What did you learn about the South under Jim Crow laws?
  • For those who've read the book, how faithful is the movie adaptation? What changes did you like? What do you wish the director had included?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all The Help reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: 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, Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fresh: "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,, Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rotten: 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, Thursday, August 11, 2011

Audience Reviews

5 stars

What a beautiful, inspiring film!

- fb100000293612769, Saturday, July 28, 2012

5 stars

What a beautiful, inspiring film!

- fb100000293612769, Saturday, July 28, 2012

4 stars

Directed by Tate Taylor, Dreamworks, 2011. Starring Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Sissy Spacek. Genre: Drama Question: Do you feel stuck or made to feel like your life can't get better? You think if you even try to and improve your life you will just be beaten down and told "NO, you aren't allowed to do that", right? Everyone should have one thing in this world that allows them to feel there is a chance at change. It's called hope - a powerful emotion. And once you have hope change can begin. Well, the movie, The Help, showed that if you have the courage to share your story, no matter how scared you are, or oppressed, you will eventually be free and happy. As the tagline goes, "Change begins with a whisper." In The Help the women of Jackson, Mississippi, specifically the black women, can't pursue their dreams; actually they can't pursue anything due to the racism that was so prevalent in this country in the early 60's in the South. I will tell you not many things make me angry but racism disturbs me so that this movie was particularly hard for me to watch without getting overly emotional. (I really need to carry around more tissues.) The movie represented the harsh reality these women faced on a daily basis by society. There were parts that were light in nature but as soon as you let your guard down the story smacked you with another blow. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. The story starts with Aibileen (played brilliantly by Viola Davis), a black maid, working for a white family. She basically does everything for them: the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking and raising their daughter. This type of job is something she has always done - since she was a teenager. She had no choice. Her mother was a maid and her grandmother was a house slave. She wasn't allowed to pursue an alternative employment. However, she loves the little girl and knows that her mother can't raise her properly. You will witness as to why. Then Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan comes home from college. Emma Stone plays Skeeter. She is the only woman in town who isn't married with children and she doesn't mind, much to her mother's dismay. She wants to become a writer (yay!). She returns to witness the rampant racism that seems to plague her town, her friends and family. She is then inspired to write about it - specifically from the maid's point of view(s). However, no one will talk to her about it. They were too afraid. I don't want to go into too much detail as usual but the women portrayed some of the strongest characters and a couple of the most hideous human beings I have ever seen on film. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer played the two main maids in this story and their performances were stellar. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they were both nominated for many awards. Bryce Dallas Howard was brilliant in this film as Hilly Hollbrook, one of the most racist people in the film. She played it so well that when she came on-screen my heart sank because I knew she would say or do something so hideous - and she usually did. But don't worry - karma takes a hand in this story - a brilliant hand. Emma Stone (Skeeter) also did a fantastic job as the one who started the wave of change. Through her questions, writing and her own story she allowed the black woman of Jackson to have a voice - something they never had before. Her whisper sparked a revolution. I have to admit towards the end of the movie the story got a little choppy; and I have feeling the book this movie was based on (by Kathryn Stockett) went in further into detail about the racism, the relationship between these women and the change that took place. Many recommended this book to me last summer but never got around to it. I might just have to read it now. Have you started your whisper yet? Change can happen. My favorite thing: The inspiration this movie gave me and to remind me to fight for what I want. My least favorite thing: Knowing that racism was that bad in this country. Rating: PG-13 Length: 137 minutes Review: 8 out of 10

- katykern8261, Thursday, June 7, 2012