Deep in early 1960’s Mississippi, every white family in Jackson has black ‘help’, working their land, cleaning their houses and raising their children.

Deep in early 1960's Mississippi, every white family in Jackson has black 'help', working their land, cleaning their houses and raising their children.

Kind, motherly Aibileen works for cold-hearted Mrs Leefolt and little Mae Mobley.

Hilly Holbrook practically runs the town of Jackson with her overbearing old-school Southern spirit and has no time for her fiery maid Minny's back-chat.

Outsider Skeeter is fresh out of college and desperate to be a writer rather than marry and have babies, Skeeter feels the tides of society changing and embarks on a ground-breaking, potentially life-wrecking mission to narrow the black/white divide.

Once you get to grips with who's who, who they're married to and who their maid is, you quickly become emotionally involved in each woman's unique struggle.

Being set in a time when family scandals were repressed and private lives were just that, The Help enjoys the same slow, titillating plot revelations as any good murder mystery.

New links between the women and their families, as well as different sides to even the most transparent characters trickle out slowly.

The Help is a story that has been told many times before, covering much of the same ground other civil rights era films have in the past, but the magic of The Help is in the minute details of the womens' daily lives and the subtle complexities that simmer beneath the surface of the wider issue at hand.

Adapted from Kathryn Stockett's New York Times bestseller, the silver screen version is expertly cast, with spritely Emma Stone in the role of ambitious writer Skeeter, and Viola Davis in the role Stockett wrote with her in mind, Aibileen.

Bryce Dallas Howard portrays a truly terrifying Hilly Holbrook and Sissy Spacek puts in an hilarious turn as her unfiltered, ailing mother.

Despite being over two hours long, the film moves at a hell of a pace and does seem to lose some of that slow-burning tension the book had, missing out some key character developments that Stockett so meticulously laid out.

Even so, The Help is an arresting experience, offering a unique angle on a much-visited era