Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Help (2011)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Help (2011)

In director Tate Taylor's poignant, early 1960s-era drama about racism, based upon Kathryn Stockett's novel, about two black maids ('the help') in Jackson, Mississippi who were interviewed about their lives taking care of prominent white families

  • the strong relationship between the film's two main characters - black maids: Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) - who worked for Elizabeth "Miss Leefolt" (Ahna O'Reilly), and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), who at first worked for Hilly Holbrook's mother, Mrs. Walters (Sissy Spacek)
  • the character of racist, bigoted, snooty segregationist housewife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) who demanded a 'separate but equal' toilet for her housemaid Minny, because of her worry about sanitary conditions and the catching of some strange disease
  • the 'white trash' bottle blonde and socially-inept Celia Rae Foote (Jessica Chastain) who was taught by her pie-making black maid Minny Jackson to cook, so that she could impress her wealthy socialite husband Johnny Foote (Mike Vogel), Hilly's ex-boyfriend
  • aspiring, liberal-minded writer/journalist and recent Univ. of Mississippi graduate-debutante Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) writing for the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper (The Jackson Journal), and secretly interviewing the two reluctant black housemaids Aibileen and Minny - and taking notes for her anonymously-published secret book The Help, to tell the unknown stories of their experiences as servants-maids ("the help"), and to expose rampant racism; she began by telling Aibileen: "There's something else I want to write about. I would need your help. I want to interview you about what it's like to work as a maid. I'd like to do a book of interviews about workin' for white families...I was hopin' to get four or five. To show what it's really like in Jackson. Show what y'all get paid, and the babies and the bathrooms. The good and the bad"
  • the scene of Celia's bloody miscarriage in a bathroom
  • the "Terrible Awful" episode related by Minny to 'Skeeter' - the spiteful feeding of two slices of baked chocolate pie (one ingredient was Minny's shit) to Hilly, who complimented her: ("What do you put in here that makes it taste so good?!") - Minny replied: ("That good vanilla from Mexico and somethin' else real special") - and then admitted: "Eat my shit!"; Hilly began to gag and then raced from the dining room
The "Terrible Awful" Episode:
Chocolate Pie-Eating by Hilly
  • the shooting of civil rights activist Medgar Evers in June 1963, announced by the city bus stopping and forcing the disembarkment of the black passengers
  • the revelation, the last story for the book, told to 'Skeeter' by her cancer-stricken mother Charlotte Phelan (Allison Janney), about why she had 'broken the heart' of the family's long-time, elderly and ill maid Constantine (Cicely Tyson) (the servant/nanny who had raised 'Skeeter', seen in flashback) by unnecessarily firing her in order to save face among other white ladies during a DAR luncheon; she recalled how elderly Constantine had become frail and incompetent during the serving of the DAR lunch: (Charlotte: "She didn't give me a choice. The Daughters of America had just appointed me state regent. Grace Higginbotham, our esteemed president, came all the way down from Washington, D.C., to our house for the ceremony...She'd gotten so old and slow, Skeeter") - and then Constantine's daughter Rachel (LaChanze) arrived - awkwardly - at the front door and embarrassed Charlotte by barging into the dining room to see her mother; at the strong urging of Grace Higginbotham, Charlotte fired her maid Constantine: ("Get out of this house, Rachel...Both of you. Leave. Now!") - after walking out the front door, Constantine appeared stunned; Charlotte explained with a lame excuse to 'Skeeter' that she had to save face: ("She was our president. What was I supposed to do?")
  • the final scene in which black maid Aibileen Clark was framed for theft (of "silver") by a vindictive and vengeful Hilly: ("Maybe I can't send you to jail for what you wrote, but I can send you for being a thief") - Aibileen then chastised the dishonest and prejudiced Hilly to her face and stood up to her, calling her a "godless woman": ("I know something about you. Don't you forget that. From what Yule May says, there's a lot of time to write letters in jail. Plenty of time to write the truth about you. And the paper is free....I been told I'm a pretty good writer. Already sold a lot of books...All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want...You a godless woman. Ain't you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain't you tired?")
  • this was followed by the firing and departure of Aibileen from her domestic job as a maid for Elizabeth, after being urged on by Hilly, followed by her touching explanation to Elizabeth's daughter - the pale, chubby, abandoned toddler Mae Mobley (Eleanor/Emma Henry), that she had to go; the young child begged: "Please don't leave...Are you going to take care of another little girl?"; Aibileen explained: "No, that's not the reason. I don't want to leave ya, but it's time for me to retire. You're my last little girl....Baby. Baby. I need you to remember everything I told you, OK?...You remember what I told you?" - the little girl answered: "You is kind. You is smart. You is important"; Aibileen confirmed her words: "That's right, Baby Girl"
  • afterwards, the wailing cries of Mae were heard calling out to her at the window ("Don't go A-a-a-aibee!"); Aibileen recalled the moment - in voice-over, and then expressed her hope to become a writer, in the film's final line of dialogue: ("Mae Mobley was my last baby. In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done....God says we need to love our enemies. It hard to do. But it can start by tellin' the truth. No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinkin' about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy Trelaw always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day. I guess it's gonna be me")
Aibileen Telling Mae Mobley That She Must Leave After Being Fired
The Departure of Aibileen
  • after her firing, Aibileen's long walk down the suburban street as the credits rolled

Two Black "Help" Maids: Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer)

Segregationist Housewife Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard)

"Skeeter" Listening to Minny's Story About the Pie

Minny to Hilly: "Eat my shit!"

"Skeeter" Writing for the Jackson Journal and Interviewing Aibileen

Charlotte Phelan
(Allison Janney)

Charlotte's Story About Firing Constantine (Cicely Tyson) and Telling Her and Her Daughter Rachel to Get Out


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