An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Set in Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter (Stone) is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends' lives -- and a Mississippi town -- upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families. Aibileen (Davis), Skeeter's best friend's housekeeper, is the first to open up -- to the dismay of her friends in the tight-knit black community. Despite Skeeter's life-long friendships hanging in the balance, she and Aibileen continue their collaboration and soon more women come forward to tell their stories -- and as it turns out, they have a lot to say. Along the way, unlikely friendships are forged and a new sisterhood emerges, but not before everyone in town has a thing or two to say themselves when they become unwittingly -- and unwillingly -- caught up in the changing times.Written by
Walt Disney Pictures
The bookstore in the film, "Avent & Clark Booksellers," was named after Avent Clark, a production assistant on the film from Greenwood, MS. See more »
Features a Model 1205 Electrolux cannister vacuum cleaner, the first rectangular cannister, which wasn't available until about 1970. See more »
I was born 1911, Chicksaw County, Piedmont Plantation.
And did you know as a girl growing up that one day you'd be a maid?
Yes ma'am, I did.
And you knew that because...
My mama was a maid. My grandmama was a house slave.
[whispering as she writes down]
"house slave..." Did you ever dream of being something else?
What does it feel like to raise a white child when your own child's at home being looked after by somebody else?
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If this film were total fiction bearing no relation to reality, it would still be worth seeing for the fine acting and production values--even if some of the young white women approached "Southern Gothic."
But it wasn't fiction--at least, the depiction of Southern society wasn't. As I watched I kept drifting back to small-town South Carolina in the 1950s, where I grew up. It was moving and disturbing to be reminded how black people were treated then--loved and yet "kept down in their place." Our neighborhood was all middle-class and every family had a maid. There were plenty of boys my age, we visited in each other's homes, and called every maid by her first name. One even started a baseball team for the little white boys, for which her reward was a visit by the Klan.
Our maid helped my mother cook and clean. One of my parents picked her up and took her home every day--and she rode in the back seat. She ate her lunch in our kitchen--without being allowed to use our utensils. I remember her eating with her fingers. I do not remember ever seeing her use our bathrooms. I thought about that during the movie and truly cannot recall what she did, an embarrassing gap in memory.
I do remember when my father was out of work and our maid had to be cut back to three days a week. I actually cried; she was a member of our family. When talk about civil rights began in the late 1950s, my mother became annoyed at our maid for getting "uppity." And so it went. We moved to central Florida in 1961, where there were no maids.
Travel back in time with this film. It's quite real, and I highly recommend it.
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