'The Help' Critic Reviews

81%
MovieWeb:   8 reviews
76%
Rotten Tomatoes:   203 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    84
    The movie isn't perfect; it sometimes shows its stitching. But mostly it's a stirring salute to subjugated women who hold their heads high.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    50
    Save for Ms. Davis's, the performances are almost all overly broad, sometimes excruciatingly so, characterized by loud laughs, bugging eyes and pumping limbs.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Xan Brooks Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    In dramatic terms it works a treat.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    75
    Fans of the best-selling novel can rest easy: The warmly engaging book has been made into an equally affecting movie.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    50
    Both taste and perspective will inform whether viewers will find The Help a revelatory celebration of interracial healing and transcendence, or a patronizing portrait that trivializes those alliances by reducing them to melodrama and facile uplift.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    63
    "The Help'' comes out on the losing end of the movies' social history. The best film roles three black women will have all year require one of them to clean Ron Howard's daughter's house. It's self-reinforcing movie imagery.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Karina Longworth Village Voice (Top Critic)
    We get a fairly typical Hollywood flattening of history, with powerful villains and disenfranchised heroes.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    40
    While the book's minor -- but crucial -- details are often overlooked, the major themes are thrust on screen with forceful simplicity, as if Taylor doesn't trust us to understand the stakes.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    "The Help" takes us on a pop-cultural tour that savors the picturesque, and strengthens stereotypes it purports to shatter.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Amy Biancolli Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    70
    A splendid entertainment -- a film that makes us for root for the good guys, hiss at the bad and convulse in laughter when good wreaks vengeance with a smile.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    75
    There's something lived-in and genuine about this infectious melodrama.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    63
    Thanks to a talented cast -- starting with leads Emma Stone, Viola Davis​ and Octavia Spencer​ -- the movie is often entertaining. But The Help should have been challenging too.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Glenn Kenny MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    50
    Sounds kinda like Mississippi Burning meets Steel Magnolias, doesn't it?
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • David Edelstein New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    The Help belongs to Viola Davis.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • David Denby New Yorker (Top Critic)
    [The Help] is, in some ways, crude and obvious, but it opens up a broad new swath of experience on the screen, and parts of it are so moving and well acted that any objections to what's second-rate seem to matter less as the movie goes on.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    75
    I was drawn into the characters and quite moved, even though all the while I was aware it was a feel-good fable, a story that deals with pain but doesn't care to be that painful.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    "The Help" has Viola Davis going for it, and she is more than enough.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Ben Sachs Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    As in many reductive period pieces, there are no real characters here, just archetypes, namely reactionary cretins and sensitive souls who anticipate modern attitudes.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    Like its characters, it has its faults. But overall, it is a movie of imaginative sympathy that gets into the skin of its characters, into their hearts, and, ultimately, into ours.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    100
    "The Help" avoids the trap of recasting a story of black struggle into the story of a white savior.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    75
    Appalling, entertaining, touching and perhaps even a bit healing, The Help is an old-fashioned grand yarn of a film, the sort we rarely get these days.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    "The Help" is filled with good acting and better intentions.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Meghan Keane New York Observer (Top Critic)
    The uneven racial terrain of the film likely won't stand in the way of multiple nominations for some truly outstanding performances throughout the movie.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Peter Debruge Variety (Top Critic)
    It serves as an enlightening and deeply affecting exercise in empathy for those who've never considered what life must have been like for African-Americans living with inequality a full century after the Emancipation Proclamation called an end to slavery.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Sara Stewart New York Post (Top Critic)
    63
    Aims for "To Kill a Mockingbird" significance, but lands in "Steel Magnolias" territory.
    Full Review » 3 years ago