Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Allison Janney, and Emma Stone star in the film The Help as supporting cast members. Tate Taylor directed this historical drama film based on Kathryn Stockett’s book of the same name, published in 2009. The novel follows the life of a young white lady called Eugenia Skeeter Phelan as she pursues her dream of becoming a journalist.
The Help is a story about Skeeter and the two black maids she hires, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, set against the background of 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Skeeter wants to get into the journalism field by writing a book on the experiences of maids who work for white households, telling their stories of discrimination and how they overcame it.
DreamWorks Studios bought the film rights to Kathryn Stockett’s book when it became a bestseller. Both reviewers and moviegoers seemed to like The Help after its first release. A global commercial smash, it surprised everyone. In addition, the film was nominated for four Oscars, and Octavia Spencer took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actress.
Is The Help Based On A True Story?
The film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book The Help was released in cinemas in the autumn of 2011. The Help, starring Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Jessica Chastain, was directed by Tate Taylor and released shortly after the novel’s 2009 popularity.
The Help is a novel set in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1960s and revolves around the lives of three protagonists. Stone portrays Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a young aspiring writer, while Davis and Spencer play Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, two African-American maids who work for white households.
Skeeter returns to Jackson and becomes interested in sharing the experiences of “the assistance” with her white neighbors. Almost $200 million was made from The Help, and Octavia Spencer took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have taken place since The Help’s release on Netflix, many viewers may have wondered whether the film’s plot is based on actual events. No simple answer exists to the question of how much of the events depicted in The Help are based on reality.
It’s a made-up scenario, much like Stockett’s book. The story of a writer in the 1960s who publishes a book including several life experiences of black maids is not based on a genuine story, as shown in The Help. While this story is completely made up, one of the main characters in the book (and by extension, the film) was really based on a real person.
Notwithstanding Stockett’s assertions that The Help is a work of fiction, a black maid named Ablene Cooper sued her in 2011 (a few months before the film’s premiere) on the grounds that Cooper’s life served as inspiration for Aibileen Clark’s narrative. Once, Ablene watched Stockett’s daughter while she was at work as a maid for her brother.
Stockett was sued by her for using her likeness and name without permission. Aibileen and Ablene are very similar, and not only because they have the same first name. Aibileen’s son died just before the birth of the Stocketts’ first child, just as Ablene’s did. Cooper made the following statement to the Daily Mail at the time of the lawsuit:
“Kathryn spelt my name wrong, but they pronounce it exactly the same way in the book and the film. I introduced myself to Kathryn when I first met her at her brother’s house that way: ‘’Aib-e-leen’. Kathryn has Aibileen teaching the white folks’ baby girl to call her ‘Aib-ee’. That’s what I taught Kathryn’s niece and nephew to call me because they couldn’t manage Abilene.”
Yet, the fact that Aibileen in The Help experiences a catastrophic loss that seems to have been taken from Cooper’s own life was a far greater problem for Cooper.
“I just cried and cried after I read the first few pages. In the book, Aibileen has taken her job five months after her son is killed in an accident. My son, Willie, had leukaemia and died when he was 18, in July 1998, three months before I went to work for the Stocketts. I felt the emotions in my heart all over again. Kathryn copied parts of my life and used them without even asking me.”
Ablene Cooper tried to sue Kathryn Stockett because, she said, her life was comparable to the narrative of Aibileen Clark, but she was unsuccessful. She filed a $75,000 lawsuit against Stockett, but the case was dropped in late 2011 due to the statute of limitations had already expired.
Ablene had The Help book in her hands for almost a year before filing action against Stockett, which led to this conclusion. Nonetheless, even though the book and film are works of fiction, the parallels between Aibileen’s experience and the actual world are too striking to ignore.
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There Were Some Rough Spots Throughout The Help
A Black lady really filed a lawsuit against Stockett after the film’s release, challenging its veracity. The author’s brother employee Ablene Cooper claims her image and tale were stolen. She claimed to be Aibileen Clark in real life (Viola Davis). It was apparent that there were parallels between the two, the most striking being the loss of an adult son.
After determining that one year had elapsed, the court dismissed the case. Stockett insists that everything in “The Help,” including the character of Clark, is made up. “I’ve briefly seen Cooper twice, maybe three times, each time for little more than 10 seconds each time.
To be honest, I don’t know where all of this is coming from “I was reading her comments in The Wall Street Journal and they seemed quite solid. I can honestly say, “I have no idea who this is.”
This situation makes it difficult to determine who is in the right. There has been significant discussion about the complexities of the fact that Stockett, a white woman, wrote from the Black characters’ points of view.
Nevertheless, there is still one thing that can’t be denied. Honesty is the goal of good fiction, yet it is not always easy to achieve, especially when the characters’ struggles mirror the reader’s or viewer’s own.
It’s already problematic when that representation isn’t entirely positive. Yet, it may also be an indicator of a book’s success, and there’s no denying that “The Help” is a bestseller. “Some people have bristled at how Mississippi is portrayed,” Stockett said. “To me I’m just telling the truth, but the truth is hard, that’s part of the dynamic of the story.”
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