"The Help" A Great Movie with A Less-Than-Great Chocolate Pie Scene
I liked the movie, "The Help" but I didn't like the pie eating scene. I thought it was in 'bad taste' and did nothing to advance the plot. The entire scene left an 'after taste' in my mouth, and I believe the film would have been better served if the scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
The scene serves no purpose but to give people something to snigger about
I watched the movie The Help last night and although I really liked it, the film left a bad taste in my mouth, kind of like eating a “bad slice of chocolate pie.”
Warning: what follows is ‘a spoiler’ to be sure
For the uninitiated, I’m referring to one scene in the movie, “The Help”.
The scene starts when Minny, played by Octavia Spencer brings over a freshly baked chocolate pie for her employer, Hilly, a bigoted white woman, played by
Bryce Dallas Howard.
As Hilly scarfs down the pie she tells Minny that she’s going to cut her wages, and continues to treat her more like an indentured servant than a maid.
Hilly you understand, is not a very nice person; she heads up something she calls the “Home Help Sanitation Initiative” a bill that states that black housemaids be provided with separate bathrooms.
It seems that these genteel ladies feel that their maids “carry different diseases” than the white folks. (Even though they trust their children to their care, the maids are badly treated and made to feel that they are worthless.) Minny is going to give Hilly a ‘taste’ of her own medicine.
As Hilly eats the pie with gusto, she asks, “What did you put in it that makes it taste so good?”
Minny is only too happy to share the recipe---she put “something else real special” in the pie. Milly eats another piece and then demands that Minny get her mother, Missus Walters (played by Sissy Spacek) a slice. Minny refuses to do so and says, “Eat my shit.”
Hilly with a mouthful of pie, err---shit, is horrified when Hilly says that to her and then Minny removes all doubt about what's in the pie when she says, "You just did.”
Hilly starts to gag and runs from the room----presumably to the same bathroom that earlier in the film Minny was forbidden to to use.
Okay, why again did this scene (almost) ruin the movie for me and leave a bad taste in my mouth?
The long and short of it is I feel that the scene is not necessary to advance the plot (in fact I think it takes away from it) and serves no other purpose than to add a sophomoric comeuppance to southern white women who abuse the help.
As an audience member, I felt ‘manipulated’ by this ‘piece of shit’ scene’ and felt that it might also be a poor reflection on black women as well as perpetrates the stereotype of the southern white woman as well.
Think about it for a moment---if something like that would have happened in ‘real’ life as opposed to “reel’ life, it would not have played out in that way.
I’ve never eaten anything with human feces in it, but I think it would be mighty hard to disguise the taste of human excrement, no matter how much sugar and Mexican cocoa is added to the recipe.
Minny licks her fingers, talks with her mouth full as she sings the praises of the pie.
What is it that we never see Hilly’s bad table manners in any other scene but that (self-serving) one?
The entire scene just ‘reeked’ of exploitation and serves no other purpose than to sell movie tickets and give people something to snigger about over coffee.
I don’t understand why that scene had to be included in this adaptation of Kathryn [/b[b]Stockett’s 2009 novel when she wrote about the races being separated in the South, and show us through the point of view of the maids what they felt about their jobs.
What it was like to raised white children and loved them only to have the children grow up, leave them, and in some instance ‘become their mothers’.
I never understood why there wasn’t more love shown for the maids own children. It seems a little lopsided to have the maids reap such affection on the white children but we're never shown the interaction the help has with their own children.
As I said I liked the movie, but I would probably have ‘loved’ it in the hands of a director who might have directed that 'shit scene’ to the outhouse where it belonged.