CHANGE BEGINS WITH A WHISPER.
In early 1960s Mississippi, young “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) wants to be a writer and secretly starts interviewing black maids to find out what their lives are like in the segregated South. Tate Taylor was friends with author Kathryn Stockett, secured the rights to her novel and had a massive hit with this peek behind the suburban façade where racism flourishes. Conventional, but still relevant, entertaining and touching, this film benefits a lot from superior performances by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer as well as a villainous turn by Bryce Dallas Howard as the worst of the white homemakers. Seems simplified at times, but Taylor shows real skill at telling a good story.
2011-U.S. 146 min. Color. Produced by Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green. Written and directed by Tate Taylor. Novel: Kathryn Stockett. Cast: Emma Stone (Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan), Viola Davis (Aibileen Clark), Bryce Dallas Howard (Hilly Holbrook), Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek… Allison Janney, Cicely Tyson, Mary Steenburgen.
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress (Spencer). BAFTA: Best Supporting Actress (Spencer). Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actress (Spencer).
Last word: “[Spencer and I] really are best friends. We were both PAs together on ‘A Time To Kill’, came to Mississippi, became buddies, and moved to LA together in 96. So I don’t know, when you have someone that close in your life that you share everything with, it was just, ‘Oh!’ It was more getting Dreamworks to let me do it. Because that was the worry, she had no big credits and everybody wanted to be in this movie. Especially when there’s not so many roles for African Americans. Then I said I’d like to see Octavia do the part, so I took her down to my casting director. She went on and did a scene, showed it to everybody, they went, ‘She’s amazing’.” (Taylor, Cinema Blend)