I was at a special showing of a new film that is on release in the US at the moment. “The Help” which stars a great ensemble cast is about small town American bigotry in the 1960’s. The film is based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel which has reached 5m sales. Not bad for a debut novel. I think she even has a cameo role in the film.

The story is about life in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960’s. The marketing of the film is that this is from a black maid’s perspective. In truth it is really a white woman’s attempt to understand her perspective and experience. A story of courage, friendship, dignity, peer pressure, social conformity and love. Whilst in reality this is this a new story (written in 2009) it is still all too staggering to believe that this was only 40-50 years ago in America’s recent past.

As our media currently gets itself into a tangle about the where, why and how of the recent rioting this is a timely reminder about the pernicious nature of the failure of people to speak up and to demand a fair and just world, because of their own inability to listen, understand or to accept that their version of life may not be completely accurate. Martin Luther King’s words still call us to “not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”.

If there is any doubt about my position – I’m with Mr King every time. Sadly the film is not released in the UK until 28th October 2011. It’s a great movie with powerful portrayals and one that ought to be shown here  earlier to remind people what a real cause is all about, but also to remind us that courage and friendship are the foundations towards peace.


Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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