A parable about the dangers of genetic engineering and a film that’s getting derided for its historical inaccuracies ruled the box office this weekend.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” stayed atop the box office heap for the second week running, while the box office debut for “The Help” came amid complaints that it glossed over the challenges and adversity facing African-American women living in the Civil Rights-era south.
Here’s the weekend, by the numbers:
Name: Weekend: Total:
1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes $27.5m $104.9m
2. The Help $25.5m $35.4m
3. Final Destination 5 $18.4m $18.4m
4. The Smurfs $13.5m $101.5m
5. 30 Minutes or Less $13m $13m
6. Cowboys & Aliens $7.6m $81.5m
7. Captain America: The First Avenger $7.1m $157m
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love. $6.9m $55.4m
9. Harry Potter … $6.9m $357m
10. The Change-Up $6.2m $25.6m
Writing in the pages of The New York Times recently, film critic Nelson George takes a look at “The Help” and examines its place in cinematic portrayals of race relations in the 1960s.
Here’s the key part of the story:
“In this breach all manner of documentary and feature films, from earnest biographies to goofy musicals, have tried to illuminate, not just this period of American history, but also the myriad ways in which humans react when faced with profound moral choices. The latest cinematic endeavor is a feature adaptation of “The Help,” a 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett that has been on the best-seller list pretty much since its release and has been published in 35 countries.
Crucial to the novel’s success, just as it was in “Eyes,” was the narrative point of view. Hampton’s documentary slides powerfully from one witness to another, giving little-known organizers equal weight with the Dr. Kings and Rosa Parkses of the movement. Ms. Stockett, a white woman who toiled for five years on “The Help,” uses the voices of three women (Skeeter, an emerging white liberal writer, and Minny and Aibileen, two black maids she persuades to tell their stories) to telescope a wide range of emotions and experiences in the Jim Crow Mississippi of 1962. If Skeeter is Ms. Stockett’s stand-in, then she makes a bold stretch by using local dialect to voice the experiences of the black women, creating a false sense of authenticity that’s vital to the novel.”
Read the full story here.