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.