The Help is a movie that explores the lives of African-American maids who were employed by white families in the ’60s and the dynamics between the two. A young journalist, Skeeter Phelan, decides to expose the mistreatment and struggles of these women. So, is The Help based on a true story or partially inspired by real events and facts?

Is The Help based on a true story?

No, The Help is not based on a true story, but it is an adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s eponymous novel. The story and characters might be fictional but it is set against a historically significant backdrop, i.e., the Civil Rights Movement during the early 1960s. The narrative provides a fictionalized portrayal of challenges faced by African Americans during that era. It serves as a historical fiction that helps us address important social issues and the varied societal dynamics faced by different people.

The Help’s real events and facts explained

A few things that have an accurate historical representation in the movie are the events of the Civil Rights Movement, which essentially helped to eliminate the large racial segregation at play. It was quite common in that era for African Americans and whites to have separated public spaces like schools, and clubs. These were in place due to Jim Crow Laws, which promoted systematic racism and impacted aspects of daily life such as education, transportation, and public facilities.

The employment opportunities were also limited for African Americans, as rightly depicted in the movie. They were usually required to work as domestic help for white families while tolerating unequal treatment, low pay, and lack of job security. Like most people in that day and age, the movie shows how the characters grapple with a fear of speaking out against injustice, and how advocating for civil rights comes with risks.

The real people behind The Help’s characters

As reports suggest, an African American woman named Ablene Cooper had filed a lawsuit against Katrhyn’s family, stating that the book drew inspiration from her life and used parts of her story without her consent. The character Aibileen in the movie had a similar name to hers and also went through the trauma of losing her son. However, the case was dismissed by the court of law, and The Help still stands as a fictional body of work.

Is Aibileen Clark a real person?

No, Aibileen is a fictional character essayed by Viola Davis. Aibileen is an African-American maid, and she is one of the primary narrators in the story, who provides insights into the challenges faced by her community.

Is Minny Jackson a real person?

Octavia Spencer plays the role of Minny Jackson, a fictional character who’s outspoken and resilient. She’s also an African-American woman who works for multiple white families, and her character adds depth to the narrative with her strong presence and ambitions.

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