Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Ahna O’Reilly, Allison Janney, Anna Camp, Eleanor Henry, Emma Henry, Chris Lowell, Cicely Tyson, Mike Vogel, Sissy Spacek, Brian Kerwin, Wes Chatham, Aunjanue Ellis
OUR RATING: ★★★★☆
Period drama written and directed by Tate Taylor adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name. The story is set in 1960s Mississippi, and follows Skeeter (Emma Stone), who has returned from college with dreams of being a writer. In an attempt to become a legitimate journalist and writer, Skeeter decides to write a book from the point of view of black domestic workers who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families, exposing the racism they are faced with. Only Aibileen (Viola Davis), the housekeeper of Skeeter’s best friend, will talk at first. But as the pair continue the collaboration, more women decide to come forward, and as it turns out, they have quite a lot to say.
Our Favorite Quotes:
Aibileen Clark: I was born nineteen eleven, Chickasaw county, Piedmont Plantation.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: And did you know as a girl growing up, that one day you’d be a maid?
Aibileen Clark: Yes, ma’am. I did.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: And you knew that, because?
Aibileen Clark: My mama was a maid. My grand-mamma was a house slave.
[referring to Aibileen being a maid]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Do you ever dream of being something else?
[Aibileen nods her head to confirm yes]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: What does it feel like to raise a white child, when you’re own child’s at home being looked after by somebody else?
Aibileen Clark: It feel…
[she doesn’t finish her words but sadly looks over at the graduation photo of her son]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] I done raise seventeen kids in my life. Looking after white babies, that’s what I do. I know how to get them babies asleeps, start crying and going to toilet bowl before their mamma’s even get out of bed in the morning. Babies are like fattie. They like big fat ladies too, that I know.
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] I work for the Leefolt’s from eight to four, six days a week. I make ninety five cent an hour. That come to a hundred eighty two dollar every month. I do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing and grocery shopping. But mostly, I take care of baby girl and lord I worry she going to be fat. Ain’t going to be no beauty queen either.
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Miss Leefolt still don’t baby girl up but once a day. Birthing blues got hold of Miss Leefolt pretty hard. I didn’t seen her happy plenty of times, once babies start having their own babies. And the young white ladies of Jackson, oh lord, was they having babies! But not Miss Skeeter, no man and no babies.
[at her interview at a newspapers office, after reading her impressive resume]
Mr. Blackly: Damn, girl! Don’t you have fun?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Is that important?
Mr. Blackly: Do you have any references?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Yes.
[she gets a letter from her bag and gives it to him]
Mr. Blackly: Well! This is a rejection letter.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Uh, uh, not exactly. See, uh, Miss Stein.
Mr. Blackly: Stein?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Elain Stein, from Harper & Row Publishing in New York.
Mr. Blackly: Oh, lord!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m going to be a serious writer, Mr. Blackly. But, I applied for a job with Mrs. Stein.
Mr. Blackly: She said, no!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, until I gain some experience. See.
[referring to her letter]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: It says right there. “Great potential. Gain some experience and please apply again.”
Mr. Blackly: Oh, Christ! I guess you’ll do.
Mr. Blackly: Do you clean?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m sorry, clean?
Mr. Blackly: Clean! Grab that basket.
[Skeeter comes over to help him grab the basket full of letters]
Mr. Blackly: Miss Myrna has gone shit house crazy on us. She dropped hairspray or something. I want you to read her past columns. And read these letters and you answer them just like she would. Nobody is going to know the damn difference. You know who Miss Myrna is?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I read her articles all the time.
Mr. Blackly: Articles? Miss Phelan, it’s a cleaning advice column. Eight bucks a week, copy is due on Thursday.
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Miss Hilly was the first of the babies to have a baby. And it must have come out of her like the eleventh commandment, cause once Miss Hilly had the baby, every girl at the bridge table had to have one too.
Minny Jackson: Here, let me help you. Take that off. It’s ninety eight degrees out there.
[Minny helps Mrs. Walters takes off coat]
Mrs. Walters: Is it?
Minny Jackson: Yes, ma’am.
Mrs. Walters: Well, let’s put my coat on then!
[she puts the coast Minny has just taken off her back on]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Once Mrs. Walters arteries went hard, Miss Hilly moved her into her house and fired the maid she had to make room for Minny too. See Minny about the best cook in Mississippi and Miss Hilly wanted her. I lost my own boy, Treelore, four years ago. After that I just didn’t want to live no more. It took God and Minny to get me through it. Minny my best friend. An old lady like me is lucky to have her.
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] After my boy died, a bitter seed was planted inside of me. And I just didn’t feel so accepting anymore.
[referring to Hilly]
Minny Jackson: Forgive me lord, but I’m going to have to kill that woman, Aibileen. Now she gone to putting pencil marks on the toilet paper.
Aibileen Clark: Did she?
Minny Jackson: Mm-hmm. But I carry paper in from my own damn house. That fool don’t know!
[they both laugh]
Aibileen Clark: Miss Leefolt fork out so much hairspray on her hair, I’m afraid she’s going to blow us all up if she lights her cigarette.
Minny Jackson: And you know she will!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I got a job today. At the Jackson Journal.
Hilly Holbrook: They’d be a fool not to hire you.
[Jolene holds up her glass of drink as if to make a toast]
Jolene French: To Skeeter and her job.
[everyone else hold up their glass of drink]
Jolene French: Last job till marriage.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: It’s for the Miss Myrna column. Elizabeth, can I talk to Aibileen? Just to help me with some of the letters, so I get a knack for it.
Elizabeth Leefolt: My Aibileen? Why can you just get Constantine to help?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Constantine quit us.
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, my gosh! Skeeter, I’m so sorry!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Anyway, I just, um, I don’t really know how to answer these letters.
Elizabeth Leefolt: Well, uh, um, I mean, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her work. I don’t see why not.
[referring to Hilly refusing to the bathroom]
Elizabeth Leefolt: Just go use mine and Raleigh’s.
Hilly Holbrook: If Aibileen uses the guest bath, I’m sure she uses yours too.
Elizabeth Leefolt: She does not!
Hilly Holbrook: Wouldn’t you rather them take their business outside?
[Skeeter sees Aibileen can hear their conversation and she tries to change the subject]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Have you all seen the cover of Life this week? Jackie’s never looked more regal.
[Hilly ignores Skeeter and continues the same conversation]
Hilly Holbrook: Tell Raleigh, every penny he spends on a coloreds bathroom, he’ll get back in spades when you all sell. It’s just plain dangerous. They carry different diseases than we do.
[Aibileen can hear her through the next room]
Hilly Holbrook: That’s why I drive to the Home House Sanitation Initiative.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: The what?
Hilly Holbrook: A disease preventative pill that requires every white home to have a separate bathroom for the colored help. It’s been endorsed by the White Citizens Council.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Maybe we should just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly.
Hilly Holbrook: You ought not to joke about the colored situation. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect our children.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Do you think you’d be willing to help me with those Miss Myrna letters?
Aibileen Clark: Miss Myrna get it wrong a lot of times, it’d be good to get it right.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Thank you, Aibileen. All that talk in there today, Hilly’s talk? I’m sorry you had to hear that.
[referring to her wig]
Charlotte Phelan: Is this a little too young?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: That’s a little too everything!
Charlotte Phelan: Eugenia, your eggs are dying! Would it kill you to go on a date?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I got a job today.
Charlotte Phelan: Where?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Writing for the Jackson Journal.
Charlotte Phelan: Great. You can write my obituary; Charlotte Phelan. Dead. Her daughter still single!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Mother, would it be really so bad if I never had a husband?
Charlotte Phelan: Skeeter!
Charlotte Phelan: I read the other day about how some girls get, unbalanced. Start thinking these unnatural thoughts. Are you…? Do you, uh, find men attractive? Are you having unnatural thoughts about girls or women?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Oh, my God!
Charlotte Phelan: Because this article says there’s a cure. A special root tea!
[angry Skeeter gets and walks away]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Mother, I want to be with girls as much as you want to be with Jameso!
Charlotte Phelan: Eugenia!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Unless of course you do!
[during dinner after she tells the new maid that she’s allergic to almonds]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You know, last time I had an almond, I stopped liking men.
Rebecca: Oh, my lord!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Oh no! Rebecca, it’s fine. There’s a special root tea for that now.
Charlotte Phelan: You’ve pushed it, young lady!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Daddy, what happened to Constantine?
Robert Phelan: Uh, well, Constantine went to live in Chicago with her family. People move on Skeeter. But I do wish that she’d stayed down here with us.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I don’t believe you. She would have written and told me.
[everyone at the table goes quiet and Skeeter turns to her mother]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Did you fire her?
Charlotte Phelan: We were just a job to her, honey. With them it’s all about money. Now you’ll understand that once you have hired help of your own.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: She raised me!
Charlotte Phelan: She did not!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: She worked here for twenty nine years!
Charlotte Phelan: It was a colored thing and I put it behind me.
[Skeeter has a flash back memory of Constantine]
Constantine Jefferson: What you do doing hiding out here, girl?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I just couldn’t tell mama I didn’t get asked to the dance.
Constantine Jefferson: It’s alright. Some things you just got to keep to ourselves, right?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: All the boys say I’m ugly. Mama was third runner up in Miss South Carolina and I just…
Constantine Jefferson: Oh, you quit feeling sorry for yourself. Now, that’s ugly. Ugly is something that grows up inside you. It’s mean and hurting, like them boys. Now, you’re not one of them, is you?
[Skeeter shakes her head]
Constantine Jefferson: I didn’t think so, honey.
[Skeeter has a flash back memory of Constantine]
Constantine Jefferson: Everyday, everyday you’re not dead in the ground and you wake up in the morning, you going to have to make some decisions. got to ask yourself this question; am I going to believe all them bad things them fools said about me today? You hear me? Am I going to believe all them bad things them fools say about me today? Alright?
[Skeeter nods her head in understanding]
Constantine Jefferson: As for your mama, she didn’t pick her life. It picked her. But you, you going to do something big with yours. You wait and see.
[on the telephone]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’d like to write something from the point of view of the help. These colored women raise white children, and in twenty years those children become the boss. We love them and they love us, but they can’t even use the toilets in our houses. Don’t you find that ironic, Miss Stein?
Elain Stein: I’m listening.
Elain Stein: Look, no maid in her right mind is ever going to tell you the truth. That’s a hell of a risk to take in a place like Jackson Mississippi.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I already have the maid.
Elain Stein: Really? A N*gro maid has already agreed to speak with you?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Yes, ma’am.
Elain Stein: Well, I guess I can read what you come up with. The Biz could use a little rattler.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Thank you, Miss Stein!
Elain Stein: Hey, hey, hey! All I’m saying is that I’ll let you know if it’s even worth pursuing. And for God’s sake, you’re a twenty three year old educated woman! Go get yourself and apartment!
[reading one the letters to Aibileen]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Dear Miss Myrna, when I’m chopping onions how do I keep tears out of my eyes?
Aibileen Clark: Shoot! That’s easy. You tell to hold a match stick between her teeth.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: It is lit?
Aibileen Clark: No, ma’am.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I want to interview you about what it’s like to work as a maid. I’d like to do a book of interviews about working for white families. I can then show what it’s like to work, for say, Elizabeth.
Aibileen Clark: You know what Miss Leefolt would do to me if she knew I was telling stories on her?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I was thinking that we wouldn’t have to tell her. The other maids would have to keep it a secret too.
Aibileen Clark: Other maids?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I was, I was hoping to get four or five. To show what’s really like in Jackson.
[Minny desperate to use the toilet looks out the window at the outside toilet but there’s a heavy storm]
Minny Jackson: Uh, Miss Hilly?
Hilly Holbrook: Mm-hmm?
Minny Jackson: Never mind.
Mrs. Walters: You go on ahead and use the inside bath, Minny. It’s alright.
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, for crying out loud! It’s just a little rain! She can go on up and get an umbrella from the study.
Mrs. Walters: I believe she was working for me before you dragged us both here. Daddy ruined you.
[Hilly suspects Minny is using the toilet inside the house and calls through the toilet door]
Hilly Holbrook: Minny are you in there?
Minny Jackson: Yes, ma’am.
Hilly Holbrook: And just what are you doing?
[Minny deliberately flushes the toilet and Hilly hears this through the door]
Hilly Holbrook: [shouting] Ooh! The toilet! You are fired Minny Jackson!
[referring to the heavy storms in Jackson]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Eighteen people died in Jackson that day. Ten white and eight black. God don’t mind to pay to color once he decide to set a tornado loose.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: We never finished our conversation at Elizabeth’s, about that book I want to write. I’d really like to interview you, Aibileen. I know it’s scary.
Aibileen Clark: They set my cousin Charnelle’s car on fire, just cause she went down to the voting station.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: A book like this has never been written before.
Aibileen Clark: Cause there’s a reason. I do this with you, I might as well burn my own house down.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I promise we’d be careful.
Aibileen Clark: It’s already ain’t careful, Miss Skeeter! You not knowing that, that’s what scare me the most! It scare me more than Jim Crow.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Alright. Here’s my phone number. And my car’s here, I could just take you home.
Aibileen Clark: No, ma’am.
[Aibileen turns and walks away from Skeeter]
[reciting from Mississippi’s ‘The Laws Governing the Conduct of Nonwhites and other Minorities’]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] No person shall require any white female to nurse in wards or rooms in which N*gro men are placed. Books shall not be interchangeable between a white and colored school, but shall continue to be used by the race first using them. No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls. Any person printing, publishing or circulating written matter urging for public acceptance or social equality between whites and N*gro’s is subject to imprisonment.
[on the phone to Aibileen]
Minny Jackson: Aibileen, I done went and did it this time! I went to Miss Hilly’s house this afternoon.
Aibileen Clark: Why, Minny?
Minny Jackson: She done told every white woman in town I’m a thief. Said I stole a candelabra. Oh, but I got her back.
Aibileen Clark: What you did?
Minny Jackson: I can’t tell you. I ain’t telling nobody. I done something terrible awful today to that woman. And now she know what I done.
Aibileen Clark: Minny!
Minny Jackson: She got what she deserved, Aibileen! But I ain’t never going to get no job again.
[giving a sermon speech]
Preacher Green: See, courage isn’t just about being brave. Courage is daring to do what is right, in spite of the weakness of our flesh. And God tells us, commands us, compels us, to love.
[giving a sermon speech]
Preacher Green: See, love, as exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be prepared to put yourself in harm’s way for your fellow man. And by your fellow man, I mean your brother,
your sister, your neighbor, your friend, and your enemy. If you can love your enemy, you already have the victory.
[after Aibileen has called Skeeter and invited her to her home]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I know now that it’s against the law, what we’re doing.
[Aibileen just looks at Skeeter]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’ve never seen you out of uniform before. You look really nice.
Aibileen Clark: Thank you.
Aibileen Clark: I ain’t never had no white person in my house before. Miss Skeeter, what if you don’t like what I got to say? About white people?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: This isn’t about me. It doesn’t matter how I feel.
Aibileen Clark: You going to have to change my name. Mine, Miss Leefolt’s, everybody.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Do you know other maids that are interested?
Aibileen Clark: It going to be hard.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: What about Minny?
Aibileen Clark: Minny got her some stories, sure knows. But she ain’t real keen on talking to white people right now.
[looking at the picture of Aibileen’s son on the wall]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Is that your son?
Aibileen Clark: Yes, ma’am. Can we move on to the next question?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You know, Aibileen, you don’t have to call me ma’am. Not here.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Do you want to talk about the bathroom? Or anything about Miss Leefolt? How she pays you? Or has she ever yelled at you in front of Mae Mobley?
[Skeeter sees Aibileen looking distressed]
Aibileen Clark: I thought I might write my stories down or read them to you. Ain’t no different in writing down my prayers.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Okay. Sure.
[Aibileen gets her prayer book]
Aibileen Clark: When I say my prayers out loud, find I can get my point across a lot better when I’m writing them down. I write and hour, sometimes two, every night. And after my prayers last night, I got some stories down too.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Go ahead.
[reading from her prayer notebook to Skeeter]
Aibileen Clark: My first white baby to ever look after was named Alton Carrington Speers. It was nineteen twenty five, and I just turned fourteen. I dropped out of school to help mama with the bill. Alton’s mama died of lung disease.
[Aibileen put the notebook down]
Aibileen Clark: I loved that baby and he loved me. That’s when I learned I could make children feel proud of themself. Alton used to be always be asking me how come I was black? It just ate him up. Then one time I told him it’s cause I drank too much coffee.
[Aibileen laughs and Skeeter laughs with her]
Aibileen Clark: You should have seen his face!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: This was just so great. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you doing this for me. What changed your mind?
Aibileen Clark: God. And Miss Hilly Holbrook.
[trying to ask for a loan from Hilly to pay for her two sons college tuition]
Yule Mae Davis: Well, now we’re faced with having to choose which son can go if we don’t come up with the money. Would you consider giving us a loan? I’d, I’d work every day for free till it was paid off.
Hilly Holbrook: That’s not working for free, Yule Mae. That’s paying off a debt.
Yule Mae Davis: Yes, ma’am.
[Yule Mae takes the breakfast dishes and turns to leave]
Hilly Holbrook: As a Christian, I’m doing you a favor. See, God don’t give no charity to those who are well and able. You need to come up with this money on your own. Okay?
[Yule Mae is almost in tears now]
Yule Mae Davis: Yes, ma’am.
Hilly Holbrook: You’ll thank me one day.
[to her daughter, Sugar, giving her instruction on how to act as a maid]
Minny Jackson: You cooking white food, you taste it with a different spoon. They see you putting the tasting spoon back in the pot, might as well throw it all out. Spoon too. And you use the same cup, same bowl, same plate everyday. And you put it up in the cabinet. Tell that white woman that’s where you going to keep it from now on out. Don’t do that? See what happens.
[giving instructions to Sugar on how to act as a maid]
Minny Jackson: Serving white folks coffee, sit it down in front of them. Don’t hand it to them. What your hands can’t touch. And don’t hit on their children. White folks like to do their own spanking. Last thing, come here. Look at me. No sass mouthing.
[Sugar looks away and Minny pulls her face towards her again]
Minny Jackson: No sass mouthing.
[referring to Minny’s oldest daughter]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Leroy had made Sugar quit school to help them with the bills. And everyday Minny went without a job, might have been a day Leroy took her from our world. But I knew, I knew the only white lady Miss Hilly hadn’t gotten to with her lies.
Minny Jackson: I work Sunday through Friday.
Celia Foote: No, you can’t work at all on the weekends.
Minny Jackson: Okay. Well, what time do you want me here?
Celia Foote: After nine and you got to leave before four.
Minny Jackson: Okay. Now, what your husband say you can pay?
Celia Foote: Johnny doesn’t know I’m bringing in help.
Minny Jackson: And what Mr. Johnny going to do when he come home and find a colored woman in his house?
Celia Foote: It’s not like I’d be fibbing. I just want him to think I can do this on my own. I really need a maid!
Minny Jackson: I’ll be here tomorrow morning about nine fifteen.
Celia Foote: Great!
Minny Jackson: Miss Celia?
Celia Foote: Mmm?
Minny Jackson: I think you done burnt your cake.
Aibileen Clark: I reckon I’m ready to talk about Miss Leefolt now. Baby girl still got to wear diaper when she sleep at night and don’t get changed till I get there in the morning. That about ten hours she got to sleep in her mess. Now Miss Leefolt pregnant with her second baby. Lord, I pray this child turn out good. Not a good road if mama don’t think child is pretty.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: That’s very true.
Aibileen Clark: Miss Leefolt should not be having babies. Put that down.
[Skeeter writes what she says down]
Aibileen Clark: Treelore would like me doing this. He always said we’re going to have to write on the family one day. Always thought it was going to be him. Maybe it’s going to be me.
[after she stumbles upon Skeeter at Aibileen’s house]
Minny Jackson: And just what makes you think colored people need your help? Why you care?
Aibileen Clark: Minny.
Minny Jackson: Maybe you just want to get Aibileen in trouble.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: No! I want to show her perspective. So people might understand what it’s like from your side.
Minny Jackson: Now, that’s a real fourth of July picnic. It’s what we dream of doing all weekend long. Get back in their house, polish the silver. And we just love not making minimum wage or getting social security. And how we love they cheering when they’re little and then they turn out just like they mama’s.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I know. Maybe things can change.
Minny Jackson: What law school say you got to be nice to your maid?
Aibileen Clark: You don’t have to do this now, Minny.
Minny Jackson: You damn right, I don’t! You two give me heart palpitations!
[she turns and leaves Aibileen’s house banging the door shut]
Aibileen Clark: And that’s a good mood!
[Minny returns to Aibileen’s house]
Minny Jackson: Alright, I’m going to do it. But I need to make sure she understands this ain’t no game we playing here.
Minny Jackson: Slide your chair out from under that table. Face me.
[Skeeter slides her chair out to face her]
Minny Jackson: I need to see you square on at all times.
[she sits opposite Skeeter waiting for Skeeter to speak]
Minny Jackson: I got to come up with the questions too?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Oh! Uh, let’s begin with, uh, with where you were born.
Minny Jackson: Belzoni Mississippi, on my great aunt’s sofa. Next?
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Once Minny got to talking about food, she likely to never stop. But when she got to talking about the white ladies, it took all night!
[referring to the Shinalator as she’s doing Skeeter’s hair]
Charlotte Phelan: The whole system cost eleven dollars. It smells expensive. You’re going to look beautiful on your date tonight.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I can feel the hope in your fingers.
[on their first date]
Stuart Whitworth: So, what do you do with your time? Do you work?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I write. But right now I’m working on a domestic maintenance column for the Jackson Journal.
Stuart Whitworth: You mean, housekeeping. Jesus, I can’t think of anything worse than reading a cleaning column, accept for maybe writing one.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I can. Working with a bunch of greasy, stinky men in the middle of the ocean.
Stuart Whitworth: Sounds to me like a ploy to find a husband, becoming an expert in keeping house.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, aren’t you a genius! You’ve figured out my whole scheme!
Stuart Whitworth: Ain’t that all you girls always major in? Professional husband hunting.
[to Stuart on their first night out]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant? Or were you just born stupid?
[she gets up and leaves]
[to Celia as she’s showing her how to fry chicken]
Minny Jackson: Frying chicken just tend to make you feel better about life. At least me, anyway. Mmm, I learned me something frying chicken.
Celia Foote: I just want you to know I’m real grateful you’re here.
Minny Jackson: You gots plenty more to be grateful for than me. And look, now I ain’t messing round no more. Now Mr. Johnny going to catch me here and shoot me dead right here on this no wax floor! You gots to tell him. Ain’t he wondering how you cooking so good?
Celia Foote: You’re right! Maybe we oughta burn the chicken a little?
Minny Jackson: Minny don’t burn chicken.
[on the phone]
Elain Stein: Eugenia, Martin Luther King just invited the entire country to march with him in D.C. in August. This many N*gro’s and whites have not worked together since Gone with the Wind. How many stories have you recorded thus far?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: The ones you’ve read.
Elain Stein: Two domestics, that’s all?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m real close to getting more interviews.
Elain Stein: Don’t send me anything else until you do have more maids.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Yes, ma’am. How many more?
Elain Stein: I don’t know! At least a dozen. My advice to you is to write it, and write it fast, before this whole Civil Rights thing blows over.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: We need a dozen more.
Minny Jackson: Me and Aibileen done asked everybody we know. Thirty one names. They all too scared! Think we crazy.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, if we don’t get more we’re not getting published.
Minny Jackson: I gots plenty stories, Miss Skeeter. Just write them down and invent them maids yourself. You already making up names, just make up the maids too.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: We’re not going to do that. That would be wrong.
Aibileen Clark: Don’t give up on this, Miss Skeeter.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: It wouldn’t be real!
Aibileen Clark: They killed my son. He fell carrying two by fours at the mill. Truck went over and crushed his lung.
Minny Jackson: Aibileen.
[Minny reaches out her hand to Aibileen to comfort her but Aibileen pulls away]
Aibileen Clark: That white foreman threw his body back onto the truck. Drove to the colored hospital. Dumped him there and honked the horn. There was nothing they could do, so I brought my baby home. Laid him down that sofa right there. He died right in front of me. He was just twenty four years old, Miss Skeeter. Best part of a person’s life. Anniversary of his death, every year I can’t breathe. But to you all it’s just another day of bridge. You stop this, everything I wrote, he wrote, everything he was is going to die with him!
Hilly Holbrook: Aibileen, are you enjoying your new bathroom, over at Elizabeth’s? Nice to have your own. Isn’t it, Aibileen?
Aibileen Clark: Yes, ma’am. And I thank you.
Hilly Holbrook: Separate, but equal. That’s what Ross Barnett says and you can’t argue with the Governor.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, certainly not in Mississippi. Birth place of a modern day government.
Yule Mae Davis: I already know what you’re going to ask, Miss Skeeter. Minny and Aibileen already did. I’m trying to get my boys off to college. Now, it’s worthwhile what you’re all doing, but my boys are worth more.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I understand.
[just then Hilly walks in on their conversation]
Hilly Holbrook: What do you understand, Skeeter?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You’re maid was just saying how excited she is that her boys are going to go to college.
[to Yule Mae]
Hilly Holbrook: Did you also ask Miss Skeeter if you could borrow money?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Of course not.
Hilly Holbrook: Skeeter, did you intentionally not put my initiative in the newsletter?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: No. No. Not at all. I just have been really busy with mama.
Hilly Holbrook: I know. I know. You must be so worried about your mother, but, um, I’m worried about you. Readin this stuff!
[she holds up Mississippi’s ‘The Laws Governing the Conduct of Nonwhites and other Minorities’]
Hilly Holbrook: Believe it or not, there are real racists in this town. If the wrong person caught you with anything like that, you’d be in serious trouble.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I’ll be on the lookout.
[Hilly gives Skeeter a cold hard look]
Hilly Holbrook: Put my initiative in the newsletter. Okay?
Charlotte Phelan: There’s a particularly tall and very handsome man, named Stuart, here for you.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Oh, God! Oh, mother! You would not like him, trust me. He’s a drunken asshole.
Charlotte Phelan: Love and hate are two horns on the same goat, Eugenia. You need a goat!
Stuart Whitworth: Look, I know it was a few weeks back. But I came to say I’m sorry for the way I acted.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Who sent you, William or Hilly?
Stuart Whitworth: Neither.
[Skeeter gives him an ‘I don’t believe you’ look]
Stuart Whitworth: Hilly. But I wanted to come, okay? I was rude and I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I haven’t. You can just go.
Stuart Whitworth: Goddamn it!
Stuart Whitworth: I told Hilly I wasn’t ready to go out on any date, alright? Not even close to ready. I was engaged last year. She ended it.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m sure she did.
Stuart Whitworth: It’s not like that. I’m not always a jerk. Anyway, we’d been dating since we were fifteen. You know how it is.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Actually, I don’t. I’ve never really dated anyone before.
Stuart Whitworth: Ever?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Ever.
Stuart Whitworth: I, uh, well, that must be it then.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: What?
Stuart Whitworth: You, Skeeter. I’ve never met a woman who says exactly what she’s thinking.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I got plenty to say.
Stuart Whitworth: Yeah, I bet you do. You make me laugh. Smile. Would you like to come out to dinner with me? We could talk. I could actually listen to you this time.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I can’t think of anything worse.
Stuart Whitworth: Well, I understand and I’m sorry. That’s what I came here to say, and I said it.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You’re disgusting.
Stuart Whitworth: You’ve already made that pretty clear. And just so you know, the boys caught me reading your Miss Myrna column on the rig the other day.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Really? You read them?
Stuart Whitworth: All of them. Very informative too. I had no idea that ground eggshells got grease out of clothes.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I do my homework.
Stuart Whitworth: You’re a good writer, Skeeter.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Thank you. I want to be a journalist, or maybe a novelist, or maybe both.
Stuart Whitworth: I like that. You’re really smart. Pretty.
Aibileen Clark: [to Mae] You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
Minny Jackson: What they going to do if they catch us with Miss Skeeter?
Aibileen Clark: We’re going to be careful.
Minny Jackson: It’s just two of us. Drag us behind, shoot me in front of my children!
Aibileen Clark: We ain’t doing Civil Rights. We’re, we’re just telling stories like they really happened.
Minny Jackson: You’re a fool, woman. You’re a fool.
[they hug each other]
[after she’s miscarried]
Celia Foote: We got married cause I was pregnant. Then I lost it a month later. Johnny wants kids now. What he going to do with me?
Minny Jackson: Well, Mr. Johnny just going to have to get over it.
Celia Foote: He doesn’t know about the baby. Or the two before.
Minny Jackson: Don’t be taking those women any more pies. You understand?
[Celia nods her head]
Celia Foote: They made me stand there like I was a vacuum salesmen. Why, Minny?
Minny Jackson: Cause they know about you getting knocked up by Mr. Johnny. Imagining, wondering what it means. Specially since Miss Hilly and Mr. Johnny had just broke up too.
Celia Foote: So Hilly probably thinks that I was fooling around with Johnny when they were still going steady.
Minny Jackson: Mm-hmm. Mrs. Walters always said, Miss Hilly still sweet on Mr. Johnny too.
Celia Foote: No wonder! They don’t hate me! They hate what they think I did.
Minny Jackson: They hate you cause they think you white trash.
Celia Foote: I’m just going to have to tell Hilly, I ain’t no boyfriend stealer.
[to Minny as she’s tending to Minny’s wound from being hit by her husband]
Celia Foote: You know what I’d do if I were you? I’d give it right back to him. I’d hit him over the head with a skillet and I’d tell him to go straight to hell.
[after Kennedy’s assassination]
Aibileen Clark: The world done gone crazy, Miss Skeeter, and I’m scared. What if people find out what we’re writing? Figure out Knoxville really Jackson, figure out about who?
Minny Jackson: Maybe we need us some insurance. I told God I’d never speak of it again, but we ain’t got no choice. I need to tell you all about the terrible awful I’d done to Miss Hilly. It might be the only thing that keep us safe.
[flashback to the day Minny had baked a chocolate pie and went over to Hilly’s]
Hilly Holbrook: So, nobody wanted to hire a sass mouthing thieving N*gro? Did they?
[as she’s eating Minny’s pie]
Hilly Holbrook: Pie is as good as always, Minny.
Minny Jackson: I’m glad you like it.
Hilly Holbrook: If I take you back, I’d have to cut your pay five dollars a week.
Minny Jackson: Take me back?
[referring to Minny’s pie]
Hilly Holbrook: What did you put in here that makes it taste so good?
Minny Jackson: That good vanilla from Mexico and something else real special.
[as Mrs. Walters comes over to cut herself a slice of the pie]
Minny Jackson: No! No. No. No, Miss Walters. That’s Miss Hilly’s special pie.
Hilly Holbrook: Mama can have a piece.
[pushes the pie in towards Minny]
Hilly Holbrook: Cut her one! Go get a plate.
Minny Jackson: Eat my shit!
Hilly Holbrook: What did you say?
Minny Jackson: I said, eat my shit.
Hilly Holbrook: Have you lost your mind?
Minny Jackson: No, ma’am. But you about to. Cause you just did.
Hilly Holbrook: Did what?
[Minny looks at her pie as if to confirm Hilly had eaten the pie which had her shit in it]
[laughing as Hilly runs out of the dining room to throw up the pie Minny had put shit in]
Mrs. Walters: You didn’t just eat one, you had two slices!
[Minny quickly leaves the house and Mrs. Walters just keeps on laughing]
Mrs. Walters: Run, Minny! Run!
[after she’s told them what she’d done to Hilly]
Aibileen Clark: You trying to get yourself killed?
Minny Jackson: No! I wasn’t on planning on telling her, Aibileen! I just wanted to see her take a bite. Then I was going to leave. Be done with her forever. Oh, I knew if I hadn’t talked to that woman, it was in that pie. I done ask God to forgive me. But more for what happened to poor Miss Walters. Miss Hilly threw her in that nursing home just for laughing.
Aibileen Clark: We can’t put that story in a book.
Minny Jackson: We ain’t got no choice. Hilly Holbrook hadn’t let nobody know that pie story about her.
Aibileen Clark: Exactly! If people find out that terrible awful was you and Miss Hilly, we in trouble there ain’t words for!
Minny Jackson: Right! But don’t you see? She going to go to her grave convincing folks this book ain’t about Jackson. Now, that keeps us safe! Insurance!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: No! No. That’s too dangerous.
[Minny gets angry and stands to leave]
Minny Jackson: You all two brought me into this, but I’m going to finish it. Now either put it in, or pull my parts out altogether! You all pick!
[at the fund raising benefit]
Hilly Holbrook: What are you trying to do to me? What are you and that N*gro up to?
Celia Foote: I don’t know what you’re talking about!
Hilly Holbrook: You’re lying! You did! You tell!
Celia Foote: Hilly, I got pregnant after you and Johnny broke up!
Mrs. Walters: [laughing] Oh, Jesus!
Hilly Holbrook: Shut up, mother!
Celia Foote: Johnny never cheated on you. At least not with me!
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, Johnny would never cheat on me!
Celia Foote: I’m so sorry! I thought you’d be pickled with that pie.
Hilly Holbrook: You tell that N*gro, if she tells anybody, I will make her suffer!
[as Mrs. Walters is leaving the fund raising benefit with Minny’s pie that Hilly had won]
Hilly Holbrook: You throw that pie away right now!
Mrs. Walters: I spent good money on this pie. I won it just for you.
Hilly Holbrook: You signed me up?
Mrs. Walters: I may have trouble remembering my own name, or what country I live in. But there’s two things I can’t seem to forget. That my own daughter threw me into a nursing home and that she ate Minny’s shit. Good night.
Celia Foote: I’m not right for this kind of life, Minny. I don’t need a dining room table for twelve people. I couldn’t get two people over here if I begged. I can’t do this to Johnny anymore. That’s why I got to go back to Sugar Ditch.
Minny Jackson: You can’t move back to Sugar Ditch. Oh, lord! I reckon it’s time you knew. Sit down.
[after she’s told Celia about what she’d done to Hilly with the pie]
Minny Jackson: So, Miss Hilly thought you knew about the terrible awful. That you making fun of her. It’s my fault she pounced on you. If you leave Mr. Johnny, he and Miss Hilly done won the whole ball game. And she done beating me and she done beat you.
Celia Foote: Thank you, for telling me that.
Aibileen Clark: Lord, look at all these pages. Two hundred and sixty six.
Minny Jackson: So we just send it off? Just wait and see? Hope and see Miss Stein going to publish it?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Well, I have one more story to type, before I put in the mail. Other than that we’re done.
Minny Jackson: Which one you got left?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Uh, mine.
[after finding out her mother had fired Constantine because her daughter, Rachel had interrupted her mother’s luncheon party]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Constantine didn’t do anything wrong. You love Rachel. I know you do.
Charlotte Phelan: She was our president! What was I supposed to do?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: She did you the biggest favor of your life. She taught me everything.
Charlotte Phelan: Well, you idolized her too much. You always have.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I needed someone to look up to.
Charlotte Phelan: Well, I went to her house the next day. But she had already gone.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: How could you not tell me all this?
Charlotte Phelan: Because I didn’t want to upset you during your final exams. And I know you’d blame me and it wasn’t my fault!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’ve got to go find her. She needs me.
Charlotte Phelan: We sent your brother up to Chicago to bring Constantine home. When he got there, she’d died.
[Skeeter starts to cry]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You broke her heart.
[after the book ‘The Help’ was published]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] They printed a few thousand copies with the worst advance Miss Stein had ever seen. They sent Miss Skeeter six hundred dollars. She broke that money up and gave it to each of us. Divided thirteen ways, that came to about forty six dollars each.
[after Stuart has found out about her book being published]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You told me to write something good! Something I believed in!
Stuart Whitworth: That’s not what I believe in! Now, that joke you pulled with Hilly with the toilets? That was funny. Why would you do this to us? I don’t even know why you care!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: What?!
Stuart Whitworth: Things are fine around here. Why go stir up trouble?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Trouble’s already here, Stuart. I had to tell you this! You needed to know!
Stuart Whitworth: You’re Goddamn right I needed to know! You should have told me this from start! You’re a selfish woman, Skeeter.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Stuart!
Stuart Whitworth: I think you’re better off being alone.
Hilly Holbrook: I’ve contacted my lawyer, Hibby Goodman. He’s the best liable attorney in this state. Oh, missy, you’re going to jail!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You can’t prove anything.
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, I one hundred percent know you wrote it! Cause nobody else in town is as tacky as you.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: You don’t know anything, Hilly.
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, I don’t! Do I?
[she pushes Skeeter]
Hilly Holbrook: You tell Aibileen, the next time she wants to write about my dear friend, Elizabeth? Uh-huh! Remember her? Had you in her wedding. Let’s just say, Aibileen ought to have been a little bit smarter before putting in about that L shaped scratch in poor Elizabeth’s dining table. And that n**ger, Minny? Do I have plans for her.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Careful, Hilly. That’s chapter twelve. Don’t give yourself away now.
Hilly Holbrook: That was not me!
Charlotte Phelan: Hilly, you’re, you’re a sweaty mess! Are you ill?
Hilly Holbrook: No, ma’am!
[Charlotte looks at Hilly’s upper lip cold sore]
Charlotte Phelan: Darling? Oh! No husband wants to come home and see that.
Hilly Holbrook: Oh, I didn’t have time to get fixed up.
Charlotte Phelan: You know, Hilly? If I didn’t know any better, now I’d say you’d been eating too much pie.
Hilly Holbrook: Mrs. Phelan, I came here…
Charlotte Phelan: In fact, I’m sure of it. Now, you get your raggedy ass off my porch. Go on. Get off my property! Now! Before we all get one of those disgusting things on our lips!
Charlotte Phelan: Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you, for bringing it back to our family.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I can’t leave you like this.
Charlotte Phelan: Eugenia, I have made a decision. Now, my health’s been on the uptake these past few weeks. And I know the doctor says it’s some kind of last strength nonsense, but I have decided not to die.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Oh, mama.
Charlotte Phelan: It’s too late. I tried calling Fanny Mae’s to make all your hair appointments for the next twenty years, but they wouldn’t allow it.
Charlotte Phelan: I have never been more proud of you.
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: Thank you.
[referring to all the cooked food laid out on Celia’s dining room table]
Minny Jackson: What’s this?
Celia Foote: I cooked it all by myself.
Johnny Foote: Yes, she did. She was up all night.
Celia Foote: Wanted to do something special. I wanted to say thank you.
Minny Jackson: So, I ain’t losing my job?
Johnny Foote: No. You got a job here for the rest of your life. If you want it.
[Minny pauses for a moment before replying]
Minny Jackson: That’s a mile-high meringue, Miss Celia.
[Celia beams with happiness at the compliment]
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] That table of food gave Minny the strength she needed. She took her babies out from under Leroy and never went back.
[Aibileen is being honored in their local church]
Preacher Green: Now, this is an important time in our community, and we have to thank you for what you have done.
[he picks up a copy of the book ‘The Help’]
Preacher Green: Now, we know we couldn’t put your name in here, so we all signed our own.
[he offers her the book]
Preacher Green: Thank you.
[Aibileen is too shocked to take it]
Preacher Green: Come on, now.
[everyone in the church claps and cheers and Aibileen gets Minny to join her]
Aibileen Clark: Churches over two counties signed that book. All for you and me.
[Skeeter flips through the signed pages of the book]
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: That’s beautiful.
Aibileen Clark: What’s wrong?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I got a job offer from Harper & Row in New York.
Aibileen Clark: Congratulations!
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I’m not taking it.
Aibileen Clark: What you mean, you’re not taking it?
Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Phelan: I can’t just leave you two here when things are getting bad from the mess that I created.
Aibileen Clark: Oh, bad things happen, there ain’t nothing you can do about it. Now, it’s for a reason we can be proud of. I don’t mean to rub salt in your wound, but you ain’t got a good life here in Jackson, plus your mama’s getting better.
Minny Jackson: You ain’t got nothing left here but enemies in the junior league. Everybody who plays bridge is here. You ain’t never going to get a man in this town. Everybody know that! I’d walk your white butt to New York, running! Look at here, Miss Skeeter. I’m going to take care of Aibileen and she going to take care of me.
Aibileen Clark: Go find your life, Miss Skeeter.
[after Hilly has accused Aibileen of stealing silver from Elizabeth]
Aibileen Clark: I didn’t steal no silver.
Hilly Holbrook: Maybe I can’t send you to jail for what you wrote. But I can send you for being a thief.
Aibileen Clark: I know something about you, don’t you forget that! And from Yule Mae says, there’s a lot of time to write letters in jail. Plenty of time to write the truth about you. And the paper’s free.
Hilly Holbrook: Nobody will believe what you write!
Aibileen Clark: I don’t know! I’ve been told I’m a pretty good writer, already sold a lot of books!
Hilly Holbrook: Call the police, Elizabeth.
Aibileen Clark: All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want!
Elizabeth Leefolt: Aibileen, stop!
Aibileen Clark: You a Godless woman! ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?
[Hilly’s face screws up with anger and she storms away]
Elizabeth Leefolt: Aibileen, you have to go now.
[Aibileen turns to go]
Mae Mobley: Don’t go, Aibie.
Aibileen Clark: Baby, you need to get back to bed.
Mae Mobley: Please, don’t leave.
Aibileen Clark: I gots to, baby. I am so sorry!
Mae Mobley: Are you going to another little girl?
Aibileen Clark: No, that’s not the reason. I don’t want to leave you. But it’s time for me to retire. You’re my last little girl.
Mae Mobley: No!
Aibileen Clark: Baby. Baby, I need you to remember everything I told you, okay?
Mae Mobley: Okay.
Aibileen Clark: You remember what I told you?
Mae Mobley: You is kind. You is smart. You is important.
Aibileen Clark: That’s right, baby girl.
[in tears she hugs and kisses Mae Mobley]
Mae Mobley: Don’t go, Aibie!
Aibileen Clark: I gots to, baby!
[to Elizabeth before she leave]
Aibileen Clark: You give my sweet girl a chance.
Aibileen Clark: [voice over] Mae Mobley was my last baby. In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done. God says we need to love our enemies. It’s hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I knew, and the things I seen and done. My boy, Treelore, always said we going to have a writer in the family one day. I guess it’s going to be me.
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