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The Fandango Family Film Mom's Take on 'The Help'

My housekeeper Ena thinks I'm crazy. And it's very possible that this week people in the service industry are experiencing similar out-of-the ordinary behavior from their employers. That weirdness comes from the dose of self-awareness called The Help.

Based on the Kathryn Stockett novel , The Help is a sticky dramedy depicting the Civil Rights era through the eyes of both an aspiring writer who is white and the maids of Jackson, Mississippi, who are black. By sticky I mean: the movie sticks with you. At least it stuck with me. I couldn't sleep the night after I saw it. I kept thinking about different scenes: the humiliation the maids experience from their condescending female employers, how a racist culture rendered them defenseless against false accusations, and the shocking (albeit hilarious) "terrible awful" way one maid gets back at her cruel employer.
 
The part of the movie I thought about the most, though, was the warm relationship between maid Minny and "white trash" Celia who was so grateful to have a maid. They baked together, laughed together, and had each other's backs. It seemed amazing.
I'm grateful to have Ena. In two hours, she performs wonders on my house that I couldn't pull off in two days. Fresh off seeing The Help, I was determined to show her how much I value her and maybe, if I'm really honest with myself, I was hoping we could become buddies like Minny and Celia.
 
My plan went into action when Ena arrived at my house last week. She once mentioned she liked my coffee, so instead of offering her a can of something from the fridge, I greeted her with a fresh, steaming cup of java. She gave me an odd look and said it was really, really hot outside, so, no thanks. Sometimes we have a language barrier so I accessed my junior high Spanish class and asked, "Come esta usted?" Honestly, I don't know what she said as she started sweeping in the next room but I'm pretty sure I heard her laughing. I started vacuuming to show her I considered her my teammate, not a subordinate. Staring is perhaps the best description for Ena's reaction. When I started putting sheets on the bed, Ena came and took them out of my hand. My eyes said, "We're in this together!" Her eyes said, "Enough is enough." I was messing up her groove not to mention the house. My "help" was no help.
 
That was a week ago. I've spent my time since then trying to strengthen my relationships with the people who make our lives easier.  My guess is that others are doing the same and my hope is that the warmth that might result from the release of The Help will last longer than the film's opening weekend.
 
To read what kids think about The Help and other movies, go to www.KidsPickFlicks.com .
 
 
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