Book V/s Movie Review: The Help
Over the years I’ve come across a lot of books that have been made into movies, and since I read a fair bit I usually land up reading the book before the movie. Asked off my head I can’t think of even one movie that out-shine’s the book (Life of Pi might be the exception when I see it, since I gave up on the book after 3 pages); though maybe if I give it some thought some book might just pop up.
With the thought of comparison on my head last week I came across ‘The Help‘, a book I read in 2011 and then watched as a movie last year. It’s a movie I liked so I’d watched it a few times and now I couldn’t remember what were the differences between the movie and the book. There’s no better way to sort this out then to read the book and watch the movie, again. That got me started on reading the book again last week.
Growing up when I got to the age of idolizing romance, there was no better ideal than Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. I read the book repeatedly until in my dreams I was Scarlett and there stood Rhett before me. But as I grew up the book became more than a romance and one of my favourite characters became Mammy. She was loving, caring, the perfect mother alternate. She loved Scarlett truly knowing all along just who Scarlett really was. At that age of course I didn’t have any understanding of colour and being brown myself helped.
In college I took up a 100 hours course on American Literature and there discovered Afro-American writers, musicians, speakers and more. (I wish I could have just said Black Writers, I know its politically incorrect and all that but I love my colour and am all patches and colours of brown; however that’s a topic for another day). I read about life as a slave, the fight for freedom, for equality, apartheid and more and I saw Mammy in a very different light suddenly.
Kathryn Stockett’s book ‘The Help‘ is just that, the voice of Mammy telling what life was on the other side of the fence. I love the book and at some places I tear-up every time reading about how inhumane we can be to people who are also human. The book’s a wonderful read just the way it is, I just wish it had really been written by an Afro-American. If you haven’t read the book yet, this book is a must read!
The Help isn’t a small or thin book and considering this time I wanted to compare the book to the movie I was reading quite slowly and mentally making notes. I finally finished the book a few days back, after a whole week (the migraines did not help). It was time to watch the movie and with Che being away, it was the perfect day to concentrate and watch a movie. I switched on the the computer, opened up notepad to make notes through the movie and settled-in to watch.
But I didn’t land up using the notepad at all and not because there were no differences. There were tons of differences. Shortening a long story like the Help into two and a half hours isn’t easy, and to still keep the core of the story I guess things have to change a bit or rather quite a bit. But I must say none of the changes take away from the story. The core and crux remains and the changes only add to the telling. The movie is also a must watch! It makes you sit up and realise that life isn’t all Gone With the Wind.
But I have to stick with what I set out to do. I have to chose between the movie and the book. Well my choice is…, the award goes too… Yeah, alright, ok, I’m cutting it out. I would still choose the book over the movie. The book has so much more in terms of the story and drama but if you aren’t a reader, watch the movie you’ll definitely appreciate it.
Have you read the book and watched the movie? Which did you prefer?