The Help

July 4, 2012 - A recent college graduate returns to her home in 1960s Mississippi and gets some help from "the help" as she embarks on a literary career. Emma Stone is the aspiring writer, Allison Janney is her mom, and Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are the maids. The supporting cast also includes Sissy Spacek, Cicely Tyson, Mary Steenburgen, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain.

Skeeter Phelan (Stone) is a college-educated Southern woman who dreams of a literary career in New York City. But, first, she needs experience. So, she returns home to Jackson, Mississippi, where segregation is still the law and where well-to-do white families hire black women to keep the house and raise the kids. Soon, she hits on the idea of writing stories from the perspective of these women. Now, all she has to do is convince them to talk.

Overall review: *** Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer each received an Oscar nomination. Only Spencer won as Best Supporting Actress. The great cast certainly helps this movie that, at times, seems unnecessarily long. But, it tells a story that, in some ways, isn't as far removed as many of us would like to think.