Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Help: A Review

It is very rare that I ever enjoy a film as much as the novel it has been based on. By very rare I mean never; until I watched the film adaptation of The Help. 

In 2009 Kathryn Stockett published her novel The Help. I'll be honest; I had never heard of the book (gasp) until I saw previews at the cinema. Being my book-loving self I felt I would be committing an unforgivable sin if I saw the film prior to reading the book. So, naturally I read it. Stockett translates the life of a small town Jackson beautifully. I won't delve into the plot or individual characters because nothing I  write could ever do any of it justice. I can often judge how good a book not by its cover but by  the amount of time it takes me to read it.  The Help took two days. The voices of all the characters feel real. Amongst the serious nature of the story there are lighthearted moments which develop even greater insight into the help and their world. I am not usually a sucker for these kind of best selling novels, however something, somewhere in the novel resonated with me. (Please note;  read this book it is well worth it.  Also, preferably read before you see the film). 

When I enjoy a book so immensely, I often watch the movie with little to no expectations. It is difficult for a director to capture in two hours what an author spent endless hours trying to express. I often feel it is one simple passage, one phrase, perhaps even one sentence that connects are reader to the text. Something, which a director and indeed the box office can miss. However The Help was different. Director Tate Taylor easily transferred the complex relationships between both the maids and their employers. By the end of the film it is transparent to the audience that the white women (while unwilling to admit it) could never live without their help. 

Often I despise films which alter add and generally screw with the the original text. Not this time, I felt most discrepancies between the text and film could be justified. In most cases the changes made where irrelevant to me and my connection with the story. There have been arguments that the film adaptation has made 'white people' good, noble and generally awesome. I acknowledge this is partially true. Many of the white female characters are depicted as more moral and rosy on the big screen. However this didn't change the story for me. To me the novel was never about 'white people' showing nobility and moral judgement but black society demonstrating courage.

Someone told me, the movie works because every person enjoys hearing about struggles for civil rights which end well. In all honestly, Stockett's novel and Taylor's film adaption will always be much more than a story about civil rights for me. It is one of friendship, courage and power of the written word. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Another Tale of My Spontaneity

Like most people I have my flaws. I think my parents should probably return me; my feet regularly loose their ability to stand, I have various lung defects and teeth that cost more than a cheap second hand car. Last night I discovered that I am a defective navigator. Admittedly I have been in denial about this after receiving a C- for Navigation in Maths A. I know I am not alone in this probably, in fact the more I think about it, the more I'm certain it is a hereditary trait (for the past four years my mother has walked in the wrong direction out of the lift at my monthly orthodontist visits).

In the past 16 years 5 months I have accomplished some seriously stupid, cringe-worthy things. Even now, some memories catch me off guard and give me the urge to curl up in a ball of shame. I have decided that I can remember the events of last night in two different ways. a) another event to add to my long (and probably never-ending list of stupidity) or b) another event to prove my spontaneous tendencies. Which ever way I choose to look at it will never forget the complexities my friend Em and I encountered ass we endeavored to find a carpark  and the Schonell Theatre before the Queensland Musical Theatre' s  production of Oliver.

1800 hours: Left a disclosed suburban residence in Hawthorne. Gavin Degraw's, Chariot penetrated the eardrums our eardrums as we gallivanted down Hawthorne Road. 
1810 hours: Head thumped to I Don't Want to Be (another Degraw classic) while idly awaiting a change of lights at Wynuum- Hawthorne Road Intersection.
1820 hours: Had a mild rock out to Missy Higgins, Scar while surpassing the city on the freeway.
1825 hours: St Lucia was ours as we serenaded the local community with I'm Yours, Jason Mraz
1830 hours: Approaching UQ St Lucia campus, Dog Days were over; we nailed speed- bumps like para-gliders.
1835 hours: Parked adjacent to an occupied some skilled soccer players.
1840 hours: Wandered around the Women's Institute with UQ hoping to stumble across the Schonell Theatre. 
1900 hours: After 20 minutes of failing to discover the Schonell Theatre; we made the executive decision to run back to the car. We returned to the car five minutes later  sweaty and breathless. My inbuilt navigation system had failed me. 
1915 hours: After spending 15 minutes driving following arrowed signs to the Schonell Theatre we finally parked. We had passed the skilled soccer players three times.
UQ Map for future reference or people with equally damaged navigation skills.

An hour and fifteen minutes after our departure time, and forty five minutes overdue our estimated arrival time; we entered the Schonell Theatre. After some quick shots of caffeine, we considered ourselves lucky to be there on time! Like all there is a moral to this story; don't call a homing pigeon Kobi. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Feeling Good About Next Year...

As you type how to choose into a search engine and many search suggestions are presented. How to choose the sex  of your baby, how to choose a dog or how to choose a mattress are among the many combinations your preferred search engine will offer you. Apart from the clear stupidity a person must poses to formulate such questions for Google, one must wonder- what about the more meaningful questions in life? How about How to choose a life?
What are you going to do next year? It is quite possibly one of the most offensive questions to ask a year twelve student. Children are always told that when they are older they can be what ever they want to be. This certainly isn't true, a 45 year old woman can't be a child star. In primary school it was fun to formulate a future life in which I would drive a people mover to accommodate the needs of my four children while juggling my job as a lawyer vet. Reality sunk in when I discovered facts about about childbirth and inflation rates,  spinsterhood suddenly became much more appealing. Given that I am not particularly gifted at anything, I did some research to formulate some possible plans. 
Plan One. Become a dole bludger.
According to, a dole bludger is someone who receives unemployment benefits from the government but are too lazy to look for work. Basically this is the only occupation I have heard of which actually suits my schedule and plans for post-school. 
Plan Two. Become a manager at fast food restaurant.
I realise I may be a little over ambitious with this plan, given I don't even hold an entry level job with any fast food chain. I should probably work on this first.
Plan Three. Dog Breeder.
Becoming a lonely cat lady is way too mainstream these days, plus I am highly allergic to felines. So, why not breed some rat looking breed of dog?

Plan Four. Marry wealth.
I’m not picky. Although I would rather not marry into fame. This is mainly I don't want New Idea, Woman's Weekly or Woman's Day creating a half-arsed documentary of life. I don’t care if the wealth is not self-earnt, old money will suffice. As long as I can stay at home, lie on the couch, watch Dr. Phil while being waited on by a (for lack of a better term) servant. 
With these plans who needs an op?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Feeling Spontaneous?

My friend told me this morning that I am not a spontaneous person. There is no remedy for a lack of spontaneity in a person. In actively trying to be spontaneous, one becomes inevitably less spontaneous.  So, instead of futilely trying to make my personality more spontaneous I have devised a list of the many spontaneous tasks I completed this week.

Monday: I turned the black pen only in Ancient History notebook rule into more of a guideline when I wrote for an entire double lesson in blue biro.
Tuesday: While home sick I read the entire G section of the dictionary, just for the hell of it.
Wednesday: Recklessly made the decision to wear a dark green hair tie rather than school approved colours of purple or white. 
Friday:  On impulse decided to purchase a large, iced muffin from the tuckshop.
Saturday: Wrote this blog.

How I felt after my spontaneous week.
Coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency; without effort or premeditation; natural and unconstrained; unplanned. Clearly my outrageous life epitomises’s definition of the adjective, I will continue living life on the edge until I get arrested.