Tag Archives: Bryce Dallas Howard

The Help (2011)

There are very few people anymore who can claim authentic, first hand knowledge of the Civil Rights movement. In the same way that I wouldn’t pretend to possess any particular insight into the fall of the Berlin Wall, having been alive during the 60s doesn’t grant you special insight into the race struggle. The only people who can really say that they were a part of things weren’t just alive in the 60s, but were decision-making adults with the self-awareness to adopt a position on one side or the other, and their numbers are dwindling. Which must explain why¬†The Help, a film that simplifies and exploits one of this country’s most strained periods, and does so with broad, stereotypical character types and exchanges, has been nominated for Best Picture. Or it could just be that Viola Davis can make anybody like anything.

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50/50 (2011)

Cancer isn’t funny. It may, in fact, be the least funny topic one can broach. Yet somehow, behind-the-scenes guy and screenwriter Will Reiser has found a way to tell a story about cancer that produces more than a few laughs. It certainly helps that the story is Reiser’s own (with a few changes); the writer was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 24. Though we’re quick to outrage when someone mocks the sick or oppressed, we’re happy to join in when the sick and oppressed mock themselves. And nobody can deny that laughter is an ice pick for fear. Any way you look at it, Reiser and Director Jonathan Levine have broken a barrier once thought unbreakable and created 50/50, perhaps the world’s first successful cancer joke.

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