20th century, costume in cinema

Movie Review: The Help (2011)

Starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis.  Costumes designed by Sharen Davis.

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Okay, so no doubt you read/heard about this movie when it came out.  Strong performances from many of the cast members, a good quality film but definitely made for Oscars, some issues around the fact that it celebrates a fictional strong young white woman for telling the story of African Americans rather than celebrating real historical strong African-American women.

What I want to talk about is hair.  Specifically, lead character Skeeter’s hair.  Apparently in the book I have not read, Skeeter has curly, frizzy hair that is the bane of her existence (as it is so NOT the mid-1960s beauty ideal).  An article quotes Hair Department Head Camille Friend who says, “In the book, she has unruly hair, and it’s a pivotal story point, so we decided on a blonde, curly hair texture for her lace-front wig” (American Salon, July 2011).

Okay kids.  In the mid-60s, you did NOT want curly hair.

... too curly locks?

This was an era when they didn’t know how to deal with natural curl.  Artificial, styled curl?  Yes.  Natural curl?  Find ways to smooth it out via brushing, cutting, large rollers, you name it.  I can’t even find any images of women with naturally curly hair in this era.  If I could, it would look more like this:

Vintage Postcard ~ Curly Hair

Or this:

Vintage Postcard

Or this:

Vintage Woman

It would NOT look like this:

Emma Stone as Skeeter in The Help

That is all.

My review:  3 (out of 5)

If you like this era, you might also want to check my 20th C. Costume Movie Reviews.  If you’re in the mood for better done mid-century, check out An Education (2009), Far From Heaven (2002), and Revolutionary Road (2008).


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1 Comment

  • Reply Ina October 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

    I strongly agree with you, that hair is really anachronistic and greasy and sticky!! Otherwise it’s a good movie ….

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