Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

At The Movies

The Help

The HelpThe Help is a fabulous rendition of Kathryn Stockett’s book, featuring a stellar cast and wonderful script. Set in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, it is a fictional civil rights tale where the heroes are poor, common, black women fighting the unjust prejudice inflicted on them by the genteel white ladies of Southern society.

Employed as maids, “the help” run the households of their white employers, performing everything from cleaning, cooking, polishing silver, entertaining the bridge club, ironing, and buying groceries, to raising their employers’ children. And yet they are grossly underpaid, ill-treated, and considered dirty and unsanitary, not fit to use the same bathroom or eat from the same dishes as their white employers—all of whom are loyal members of the Junior League, committed to raising money for starving African children. If this isn’t enough to make you laugh while at the same time your blood is boiling, then read the book—or see the movie. You’ll be in for an emotional yet fun ride.

While there is tragedy in many Southern tales, there is also an enormous amount of humor, mainly because Southerners have a horrible legacy of evil, and yet we are loving and open armed, willing to invite strangers into our homes and serve them a hot casserole at a moment’s notice. And we talk funny (being a Southerner, I can say that with a twang!). The same is true for the characters in this movie. I loved how Aibileen and Minnie, the two black protagonists (beautifully played by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer), conversed with each other behind their employers’ backs, laughing and carrying on in the kitchen when the most horrible things are being said about them in the other room, particularly by the evil Hilly (played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s daughter, who is a terrific villain!).

Skeeter (played by Emma Stone), the white heroine who assists the help in writing an anonymous expose, has the enviable position of getting a true glimpse inside the black culture of the day and witnessing the humor as well as the horrific tragedies that abound. She represents many in white society who see the injustice and feel the shame and remorse when it comes from her own friends and family. She wants to do something about it, regardless of the cost, and the result is a tell-all book entitled The Help.

Having grown up in the South in the late ’60s and early ’70s, I am intimately familiar with having a “black maid,” since we had the same one from the time I was six until her retirement, long after I was married. She was a wonderful housekeeper, like the

characters in the movie, who did everything with excellence, down to the fried chicken, meatloaf, and potato salad. And when she spoke or wrote a card or walked from one room to the other, it was as though the queen of England was in the house. There was a regal sense to her that couldn’t be explained, a dignity and grace, and yet I, in my ignorance, had no idea what opposition she had endured long before we met.

For those who may question the authenticity of such subtle prejudice as the usage of bathrooms, ask any Southerner who had a black maid in their home during this time if they remember her using the toilet. I even telephoned my mother on this one. Had our beloved maid used the facilities in the twenty-plus years she had worked in our modest-sized home—five days a week, from eight to four? Nope, none of us could ever recall. Not a single time. It was an unwritten rule of which none of us were really aware—not until I read Ms. Stockett’s book.

It is these subtle nuances of prejudice that make this story powerful. Educated white women of affluence and power would go to their graves insisting they don’t have a prejudice bone in their bodies, and yet their bathrooms, dishes, food, and front entranceways—not to mention schools, churches, lunch counters, movie seats, and the list goes on and on—are off limits to their black maids. I loved how the power of change was effected by the weak and lowly black women who used the written word to bring about social awareness in a very different way from Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and other civil rights leaders of that day. It is a lesson to us all that change can start underneath, in the grass, where the roots are buried; it is a change that one cannot see, but a change that lasts forever.


And interestingly enough, it is a change that can affect the white person who doesn’t have the courage to stand up against prejudice from her world. The best scene in the film is when Skeeter’s mother, spurred on by the success of her daughter’s book, stands up to the evil Hilly—finally. Woo hoo! Go to the movie just to see Allison Janney—one of the finest actresses in Hollywood, in my book—play this scene to the hilt. That is a movie moment I plan to see over and over!

Get to the theater soon and enjoy The Help. You won’t be disappointed.