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The Valley Line: 'The Help' gets a local showing

August 17, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely
  • Leonard DeGrassi, from left, Doris Boyer, Marian Greene and Paul Greene chat at the Oakmont League party. (Photo by Jane Napier Neely)
Leonard DeGrassi, from left, Doris Boyer, Marian Greene…

Whoever heard of June Gloom in August? Most of the television weather people were chattering last week about the cloudy mornings, calling the weather some kind of phenomenon.

Of course by the time you read this column, the clouds will be gone and it will be considerably hotter. I will be taking my fancy hand-held fan that I got in Japan many years ago everywhere I go. I’ll also be savoring those lovely cool mornings we recently had.

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A few weeks ago the La Cañada Thursday Club, along with other community philanthropic organizations and sundry book club members, were invited by the Disney Company to visit the La Cañada Regal Theatre to pre-screen the film, “The Help,” based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett.

The movie theater was completely full, with a predominantly female audience. It appeared the film was thoroughly enjoyed and there was a lot of buzz about the reincarnation of this greatly-loved book. I would have written about this pre-screening event before now, but the Disney people placed an embargo against the review of the film until the week the film was to be released — so I complied.

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“The Help,” set in Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s, is now showing in all theaters with mostly good reviews. Of course I couldn’t stay away from seeing the film again because not only did I love the book, but I so enjoyed the pre-screening of the film.

Part of the reason that I went to see it again was that I was very interested in evaluating the energy that the film was creating within the theater and the response of the audience. Considering my second viewing was on a Wednesday afternoon, the theater was quite full. It wasn’t an all-female audience; quite a few guys were there to see the film too.

It has been a long time since I’ve heard so much emotional audience reaction as the viewers got incredibly caught up the film as they alternately gasped, booed, cheered, laughed and cried.

I think you will be hearing a lot about “The Help” come award season – Golden Globes, SAG, and The Academy Awards.

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