It’s rare to see films like The Help, which bravely tackles difficult subjects. Face it, some of the most difficult topics aren’t easy to broach, but a good dramatic film can get us thinking, open our minds to new ideas, and even inspire us to make positive changes in our lives. Are you stuck for ideas? Watch movies like The Help to get an idea of what to expect.
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The Help is a 2011 period drama film based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name. Octavia Spencer plays Minny Jackson, while Emma Stone plays Eugenia Phelan. Viola Davis plays Aibileen Clark. Aspiring author Eugenia Phelan is working on a novel about two black maids who worked for white families in the 1960s. Here are a few other films that you may enjoy if you liked The Help.
1. The Tree of Life
Brad Pitt plays Mr. O’Brien, Jessica Chastain plays Mrs. O’Brien, and Sean Penn plays Jack O’Brien in The Tree of Life, a 2011 drama film. Jack O’Brien, the eldest son of the O’Brien family in Waco in 1956, tells the story of The Tree of Life from his point of view. As he approaches middle age, Jack reflects on the difficulties his family has faced over the years.
2. The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees is a film adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s 2001 novel of the same name. The story takes place in 1964 in South Carolina and follows Lily Owens, a teenage girl who accidentally kills her mother and decides to leave town with her caregiver Rosaleen Daise.
Eventually, they settle in the town where her mother grew up, and she develops a passion for beekeeping while also learning the true meaning of love from the three Boatwright sisters and their new boyfriend, Zach Taylor. From left to right, Dakota Fanning plays Lily Owens; Jennifer Hudson plays Rosaleen Daise; Sophie Okondo plays May Boatwright; Alicia Keys plays June Boatwright; Queen Latifah plays August Boatwright; and Tristan Wilds plays Zach Taylor in The Secret Life of Bees.
3. Ghosts of Mississippi
Byron De La Beckwith’s 1994 trial as a white supremacist accused of the 1963 murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers is depicted in the 1996 drama Ghosts of Mississippi. Byron De La Beckwith is played by James Woods, Medgar Evers is played by James Pickens Jr., and Myrlie Evers is played by Whoopi Goldberg in the film Ghosts of Mississippi.
4. The Long Walk Home
Whoopi Goldberg plays Odessa Cotter, and Sissy Spacek plays Miriam Thompson in the 1990 drama film The Long Walk Home. After reading The Long Walk Home, you’ll want to know what happens when the Montgomery Bus Boycott takes place in 1955. The story revolves around two women, one of whom is white and the other is black.
5. Won’t Back Down
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Jamie Fitzpatrick in Won’t Back Down, a 2012 drama film, while Viola Davis plays Nona Alberts. There are two mothers in Won’t Back Down, Jamie Fitzpatrick and Nona Alberts, who are willing to do whatever it takes to turn around a failing inner-city school for their children.