The Help Trailer: Maid in Mississippi

Recently released stills of Dreamworks's The Help looked stern, but the new trailer for the film stamps smiles on Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Emma Stone's faces. But is this film set in early '60s Mississippi too lighthearted to convey racial tensions without that Blind Side soupcon of condescension?

I've not read Kathryn Stockett's bestseller, but I can't help feeling like this is too saccharine for such a complicated subject. I will say that Viola Davis, who won a Tony for her role in August Wilson's Fences last year, looks to have another solid performance under her belt. She was also great in a very mysterious role on Showtime's United States of Tara last year. More of Ms. Davis is always a good thing.

But Emma Stone, playing the role of the heroic do-gooder Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan? She just seems too damn cute. Too Leigh Anne Touhy in The Blind Side. Too Carrie Bradshaw in the first Sex and the City movie during that throwaway b-plot where Carrie buys Jennifer Hudson's character a fancy bag and a plane ticket to see her family. I'll brave the cineplex for Ms. Davis, but I'll brace myself for a schmaltzy 90 minutes of potentially annoying, self-congratulatory characterization.

Verdict: I'm barely in.


  • Andrew says:

    So instead of one magical negro, there are many of them. Ugh. Viola Davis deserves better.

  • mrk says:

    Maybe a little saccharine. Maybe too much for some. But I honestly think all the likeable talented actresses in this will make it enjoyable. And it will hit a sweet spot in the "White Guilt" department.

  • G says:

    All that plus Emma Stone hair looks like the artificial hair they put on porcelain dolls.

  • Jen says:

    Still go because of Viola Davis and I think Emma Stone is pretty good at being charming. Just hope the movie isn't as condescending as the trailer first appears.

  • Lilly says:

    Once again, blacks play second fiddle in a story about noble white folks who save the poor coloreds during the civil rights era.
    Not my kinda movie.

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