Movie Analysis : ' The Help, The Director And Screenwriter ' Tate Taylor '

Movie Analysis : ' The Help, The Director And Screenwriter ' Tate Taylor '

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Character dialogue in film is an effective means for film directors to communicate messages and representations to the audience. In the 2011 film, The Help, the director and screenwriter, Tate Taylor, uses character conflict to convey attitudes that were dominant in 1960’s America. Through manipulation of character dialogue, Taylor presents the common attitudes in 1960’s American society of racial discrimination, coloured people being diseased and sexist gender roles. Through conflict between the protagonist, Skeeter, who represents the futuristic audience, and other characters, the viewer is exposed to the common attitudes and beliefs of the era in an entertaining fashion. Throughout the film the viewer is positioned by Taylor, to respond with distaste to the redundant attitudes displayed by many of the dislikeable characters. Their context and support for the protagonists also plays an important role in guiding them on their opinions towards the racist and sexist attitudes presented in the film.


A common attitude of the 1960’s, presented in The Help was that black people were diseased and dirty. Many white people believed that if a bathroom, toilet or eating utensils were shared with black people, the white person was at risk of getting the diseases. This point of view is highlighted, by Taylor, in an argument between Hilly and Elizabeth, in which Hilly refuses to use the bathroom of her friend Elizabeth, because it is shared with the black maid, Aibeleen. Hilly says, “Wouldn’t you rather them take their business outside… they carry diseases you know!” Hilly’s refusal to use the bathroom in this scence highlights the seriousness of this belief in the society. Some white people truly felt repulsed or scared of black people th...


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...and that the poor coloured were forced to do their will and work in difficult jobs in an attempt to survive.

The Help has been constructed by Tate Taylor to portray the racist attitudes that were common in the 1960s. Black people were thought to be bearers of disease and as a result of these facts experienced discrimination. There were also many sexist ideals that were held by the society about the gender roles. White women were expected to be very much baby making wallflowers that made little contribution to the work force. The manipulation of characters and dialogue has been used by Taylor to highlight, inform the modern day Western audience of these dominant attitudes in an entertaining way. Because of its use of characters and its exploration of these historically significant issues, it has achieved huge box office success and is a well-known and respected film.

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