The Help (2011) movie posterSpoiler-free review

The Help was a beautiful movie that will make you angry, laugh, and maybe even cry.

I got angry at the prejudice against other Americans just because of the tone of their skin. Some parts made me (and others in the theater) laugh so hard our eyes watered. But then there were the heart-wrenching parts that could easily draw a tear.

While mostly clean, The Help did contain a fair share of foul language in select scenes (and plenty of taking God’s names in vain), rather than spread throughout.

But for a family with older children, The Help could be a good movie to spark discussion about America’s past and present prejudices against people just because of outward appearances.

Warning: the remainder of this post and the podcast contain spoilers.

Prejudice

Obviously, The Help is structured around the prejudices against people of dark skin. These people were treated as a disease.

Scripture says very little about the “color” of one’s skin, certainly nothing to encourage prejudice. When people groups were recorded negatively or received judgment, it was because they were enemies of God and had taken from Him. But their particular ethnicity was not the cause.

“God don’t pay no mind to color once he sets a tornado lose.”

“… He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Matthew 5:45, NASB]

Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” [Acts 10:34–35, NASB]

Some may claim the “curse of Ham” (one of Noah’s three sons) was why “blacks” from Africa were enslaved. There is an unbiblical view.

In Jesus’s parables, He often used people from different cultures to illustrate that we should show love even to those not from our same people group.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [Matthew 5:44–46, NASB]

We recommend the resources on “races” from Answers in Genesis to learn more.

Parenting

A common theme in The Help was for families to have hired help, who did all the cleaning, cooking, and even child-raising for the wealthy “white” families. One little girl even said to her mother’s maid, “You’re my real momma.” Aibileen went so far as calling one of these couples “unfitful parents.” quote and said she “shouldn’t be havin’ no more chil’ren.”

This child-raising for others came at the cost of the maids’ never getting to be parents to their own children.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. [Psalm 127:3, NASB]

“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” [Malachi 4:6, NASB, cross-reference Luke 1:17]

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4, NASB, emphasis added]

Courage

For the black women of Jackson, MS to tell their stories took courage, and this is not neglected in The Help‘s retelling. It’s even said that courage is doing what’s right even when it’s hard. The women were convinced this was the right thing to do.

While it’s good to stand up for what’s right, “right” means something different to everyone without God’s absolute morals.

Don’t be fooled by “courage,” as it can sometimes seem courageous to do the wrong things.

Skeeter’s dying mother praised Skeeter for bringing “courage back to this family.” But Skeeter’s only courageous move was to write and publish the stories. How courageous was Skeeter away from her paper?

Love

During a sermon, we hear, “Love is putting yourself in harm’s way for others,” which is well supported by Scripture.

“The second is this, ‘ YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” [Mark 12:31, NASB]

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [John 15:13]

We also hear the phrase, “love your enemies,” which comes from Jesus’s own sermons (although Jesus was not credited for that).

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” [Luke 6:27–36, NASB]

The truth

So many movies speak of “the truth.” In The Help, the “truth” was merely the account of what really happened.

Aibileen warned Skeeter by asking, “What if you don’t like what I have to say about white people?” To which Skeeter replied, “It’s not about me.” Skeeter was after recording and sharing the truth, in order to stop the terrible treatment.

Among the last lines of the movie, Aibileen says, “Loving our enemies can be hard, but it starts by telling the truth.” Then she said something similar to Jesus’s own words.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John 8:31–33, NASB]

Other observations

  • One woman used her Christianity as a wrongful excuse for not giving to her maid who was in need. She even put words in God’s mouth that He never said.
  • It’s humorous that Skeeter’s editor said she should “write it before this whole civil rights thing blows over.” But it’s also sad that we still face similar issues of prejudice in the heart of man.
  • The funniest part of The Help is, sadly, also quite offensive with its foul language and gross descriptions. This action is revisited several times but is never condemned. “Eat my [poop].”

Side thought: are Christians prejudice?

Take The Help but replace the blacks with a different group of people. For example, homesexuality-practicing gays and lesbians. How does that change things?

Actually, that scenario changes many things because homosexuality is a willful rebellion against God’s law and perversion of His creation.

One of the ways God calls us Christians to live is to love our enemies, as we’ve already shared.

Hating those who sin is not being an instrument of God’s love. While we should still preach the truth without compromise, our goal she be to bring others to God because we love them, not for us to condemn others because of their sin.

After all, there is no different hell for gays and lesbians than there is for us before receiving Christ’s sacrifice.

Share your feedback!

What did you think of The Help? Or what general critical-thinking and entertainment thoughts or questions do you have? Would you like to suggest a movie or TV show for us to give a Christian movie review with critical thinking?

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters training, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcasts covering how to podcast, clean-comedy, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, all under the umbrella of Noodle Mix Network and having received nearly 20 award nominations. Daniel and his wife, Jenny, live near Cincinnati with their newborn son, "Noodle Baby."

5 comments on The Help (2011) – AYJW022

  1. TAPKAE says:

    “Take The Help but replace the blacks with a different group of people. For example, homesexuality-practicing gays and lesbians. How does that change things?
    Actually, that scenario changes many things because homosexuality is a willful rebellion against God’s law and perversion of His creation.”

    Ugh. Ugh. Ugh! Willful? Seriously, now? Time to read from another playbook. This isn’t critical thinking. It’s just critical and uncalled for under the flag of Christianity.

    1. I’m not the one who calls homosexuality sin—God called it sin. If you have a problem, take it up with him.

      And I must challenge your accusation that this isn’t critical thinking. Is that just because I use the Bible as my basis and disagree with you?

      1. TAPKAE says:

        God doesn’t call it anything. People call it a sin. And maybe if it’s Leviticus you’re talkin’, it’s called an abomination. And that, culturally speaking in that time and place, was more of a taboo than the noose-around-the-neck thing it’s been turned into in contemporary times, particularly in America.

        And why are we letting the moral codes of one ancient, ever-transitioning nation (slaves, freed, monarchy, exiled, repressed under serial empires and then ultimately sent into a diaspora) set the agenda for how to live now? That tiny bunch of people was always at the edge of extinction, both by their relatively small numbers and by the fact they got handed around like playthings by empires that didn’t very much care about them. So non-generative activity was essentially useless activity for society. And with their fundamental unit of society being the tribe (and not Western style individualism that came a couple millennia later), what’s good for the tribe is how the judgments came down. There are also matter of male pride involved if two otherwise equal men were involved and one was “degraded” by essentially being turned into a woman, and if compared to the Greeks a bit later on, a look down the nose at pederasty, older men mentoring boys in all the ways of life.

        Even the New Testament repeatedly says that the old laws were partial understandings of how to live. Jesus in Matthew’s gospel keeps saying “you’ve heard it said this… but I say that…” and enlarges the law with more heart and compassion. Even in the hundreds of years between the Exilic formation and standardization of much of the Hebrew canon and the time of Jesus (and another couple generations before his life was recorded) there was a great shift of understanding. Jesus’ interpretation of his own tradition found it lacking if people did not act compassionately. Recall the bit about what goes into or out of a person’s mouth. Or that he deliberately broke the law about plucking grains on the Sabbath so that human life can be preserved. Peter’s dream in Acts made clear that the law was limited and that God wants people to enjoy life that was given them. Boundaries may establish the field but they are not the entire game. The Sabbath (the Law) is made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath/Law.

        A couple thousand years later, we ought to know better that what hurts people and denies them rich lives is the hell we make right here, right now. And that needs to stop. The world is not messed up the way it is because anyone has consensual sex one way or another. Why not turn attention to the real damaging powers out there that are ruinous to economies, nature, and all that is good? It’s not individuals living their lives. It’s the systems that are going unchecked while this silly and backwards anti-gay drama (and others) is being played out as a decoy. Why not go lay some serious prophetic critique at the steps of Wall Street? That’s what’s destroying stuff.

        I use the Bible too. Just not to tell people they are coming up short as humans. The Bible is for liberation, not oppression.

  2. Molly says:

    May I just say that God is not real, there is no heaven, you cannot choose sexuality and the Bible is not factual. Thank you

    1. You’re welcome to have that opinion, but history, geology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, anthropology, mathematics, and even logic itself disagree with you. If you reject all of these confirmations from science and history that the Bible is true, then you have a blind faith.

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