I was born 1911, Chickasaw County, Piedmont Plantation. [woman 1] And did you know, as a girl growing up, that one day you’d be a maid? Yes, ma’am, I did. And you knew that because… My mama was a maid.
My grandmama was a house slave. House… slave. Do you ever dream of being something else? What does it feel like to raise a white child when your own child’s at home being looked after by somebody else? It feel.
.. [woman 2] I done raised 17 kids in my life. Looking after white babies, that’s what I do. [girl] Aibee, Aibee. – Hi! – Aibee! I know how to get them babies to sleep, stop crying and go in the toilet bowl before their mamas even get out of bed in the morning.
[girl giggling] Babies like fat. They like big fat legs, too. That I know. You is kind, you is smart… …you is important. – You is smart… – Smart… – …you is kind.
.. – …you is kind… – …you is important. – …you is important. That’s so good. [laughing] That’s so good. I work for the Leefolts from eight to four, six days a week. I make 95 cent an hour.
That comes to $182 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 gonna be fat.
Mae Mobley. Ain’t gonna be no beauty queen either. Aibileen, bridge club’s in an hour. Did you finish the chicken salad? – Yes. – And Hilly’s deviled eggs. – No paprika. – Mm-hm. Does this dress look homemade? I reckon when you finish, it won’t.
Well, thank you. Miss Leefolt still don’t pick Baby Girl up but once a day. The birthing blues got hold of Miss Leefolt pretty hard. I done seen it happen plenty of times, once babies start having they own babies.
[♪ Johnny Cash and June Carter: “Jackson”] ♪ We got married in a fever ♪ ♪ Hotter than a pepper sprout ♪ [Aibileen] And the young white ladies of Jackson… .
..oh Lord, was they having babies. But not Miss Skeeter. No man and no babies. ♪ I’m gonna mess around ♪ ♪ Yeah, I’m going to Jackson ♪ ♪ Look out, Jackson town ♪ ♪ Well, go on down to Jackson ♪ ♪ Go ahead and wreck your health ♪ ♪ Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man ♪ ♪ Make a big fool of yourself ♪ ♪ Yeah, go to Jackson ♪ ♪ Behind my Jaypan Fan ♪ – Morning.
– Hi. – My name is Eugenia Phelan… – Come on. [indistinct chatter] [phone ringing] [typewriter clacking] Eugenia Phelan, Mr. Blackly. Shut the damn door. I guarantee you, one day they’re gonna figure out cigarettes’ll kill you.
OK, Miss Phelan, let’s see what you got. Murrah High: editor. Ole Miss Rebel Rouser: editor. Double major. Whoo-hoo! Junior League: editor. Damn, girl, don’t you have fun? Is that important? – Do you have any references? – Yes.
Right here. [exclaims] This… This is a rejection letter. Not exactly. See, Miss Stein thought… Stein? Elaine Stein, from Harper and Row Publishing – in New York. – Oh, Lord. I’m gonna be a serious writer, Mr.
Blackly. But I applied for a job, but Mrs. Stein thought… She said no. [chuckling] Well, until I gain some experience. See? Says right there. “Great potential. Gain some experience and please apply again.
” Oh, Christ. I guess you’ll do. Do you clean? – I’m sorry. Clean? – Clean. Grab that basket. Miss Myrna has gone shit-house crazy on us. She drunk hairspray or something. I want you to read her past columns.
Then read these letters and you answer them just like she would. Nobody is gonna know the damn difference. You know who Miss Myrna is? I read her articles all the time. Articles? Miss Phelan, it’s a cleaning advice column.
Eight bucks a week. Copy is due on Thursday. – [phone buzzing] – Hello? Lou Ann, honey, I can’t talk right now. I’m at work. What? Shut that goddamn door. Mama, we’re late for bridge! [Aibileen] Miss Hilly was the first of the babies to have a baby.
…three… And it must have come out of her like the 11th Commandment, ’cause once Miss Hilly had a baby, every girl at the bridge table had to have one, too.
Minny, go get Mama! Missus Walters, you need help coming down? – I’m down. – Ooh. – I been down. – Give me a heart attack. Whoa, whoa, whoa, Missus Walters. Here, let me help you. Take that off.
It’s 98 degrees out there. – Oh, is it? – Yes, ma’am. Well, let’s put my coat on then. – Come on, Minny. – All right. – Here’s your pocketbook. – Thank you. OK, let me get the pie. Hold on, Missus Walters.
Hold on. Once Missus 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.
Old lady like me lucky to have her. After my boy died, a bitter seed was planted inside of me. And I just didn’t feel so accepting anymore. No. You drunk up two glasses of grape juice.
– I know you got to tee-tee. – No. I’ll give you two cookies if you go. [splashing] Mae Mobley, you’re going! [Miss Leefolt] Aibileen, the girls are pulling up, and the table isn’t set. Mae Mobley go, Mama.
Get in your room right now. Set out the dessert forks. Please. [music on radio] Put Mama in a chair before she breaks a hip. [scoffs] I’m not deaf yet, Hilly. – Hey, girls. – [all greeting] Oh. Minnie.
Will you see if Aibileen has some of that ambrosia? Hold on. Those are Miss Hilly’s. [groaning] She looks like the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby. – [chuckling] – All flowers and bows. Got to have paprika on them.
Ooh. Forgive me, Lord, but I’m gonna have to kill that woman, Aibileen. Now she gone to putting pencil marks on my toilet paper. [laughing] – Did she? – Mm-hm. But I carry paper in from my own damn house.
That fool don’t know. Miss Leefolt got so much hairspray on her head she gonna blow us all up if she light a cigarette. And you know she will! – You got some ambrosia? – You know I do. All right, I’ll be back.
Minnie, come on, now. [organ music on TV] [male announcer] The Guiding Light. Hi, Missus Walters. I’m watching my story. OK. Isn’t it gorgeous? Sorry I’m late. [all gasping, shrieking] You’re home! I missed you all, too.
Well, if it isn’t “Long Haul” Skeeter. We didn’t ever think you’d leave Ole Miss. Well, it does take four years, Jolene. I’ve got a great summer planned for you. Great. I went ahead and I picked up my black dress from the cleaners this morning.
What? – About supper club tonight. – What? [groaning] Honey, Stuart had to cancel. – Again? – [Missus Walters cackling] He got held up on the oil rig, Skeeter. It’s… it’s offshore. I’m starting to think this Stuart is a figment of your imagination, so just forget it.
I’m just gonna go get a plate. – Shh! – Sorry! [music on radio] I got a job today. At The Jackson Journal. They’d be a fool not to hire you. – [all giggling] – To Skeeter and her job. Last stop till marriage.
Oh! – It’s for the Miss Myrna column. – Hmm. Elizabeth, can I talk to Aibileen? Just to help me with some of the letters till I get a knack for it. My Aibileen? Why can’t you just get Constantine to help? – Constantine quit us.
– [all gasping] [Jolene] Oh, my gosh. Skeeter, I’m so sorry. Anyway, I just, um… I don’t really know how to answer these letters. Well, I mean, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her work. I don’t see why not.
[phone ringing] Leefolt residence. Hello. Is Elizabeth in? She having bridge club right now. May I take a message? Yes, please tell her Celia Foote called again. I’ll call back tomorrow. – Yes, ma’am.
– Uh… Miss? I’m looking for some help at my house. Do you know any maids looking? No, ma’am. OK. It’s Celia Foote. Emerson-684. [giggling] Bye now. [gasping, giggling] You scared the daylights out of me! It is lunchtime, and I am suddenly hungry.
[giggling, indistinct chatter] Honestly! [snoring] [gasping] Oh. I’m still working on it, Aibileen. Who was that on the phone? Miss Celia Foote called again. I’ve never called her back, Hilly. She can’t take a hint, can she? Who’s Celia Foote? That tacky girl Johnny married.
From Sugar Ditch. It could have been you, Hilly. And live 30 minutes outside of town? No, thank you. [chuckling] Anyway, I ran into her at the beauty parlor, and she had the nerve to ask if she could help with the Children’s Benefit Ball.
Aren’t we taking non-members? The benefit has gotten so big. Yes, but we’re not telling her. [all giggling] Thank you, Aibileen. [groaning] Hilly, I wish you’d just go use the bathroom. I’m fine. [Missus Walters] Oh, she’s just upset because the nigra uses the guest bath and so do we.
Aibileen, go check on Mae Mobley. Yes, ma’am. Just go use mine and Raleigh’s. If Aibileen uses the guest bath, I’m sure she uses yours, too. She does not. Wouldn’t you rather them take their business outside? Have you all seen the cover of Life this week? Jackie’s never looked more regal.
Tell Raleigh every penny he spends on a colored’s bathroom he’ll get back in spades when y’all sell. [makes disgusted noise] It’s just plain dangerous. They carry different diseases than we do. Pass.
That’s why I’ve drafted the Home Health Sanitation Initiative. The what? [Hilly] A disease- preventative bill that requires every white home to have a separate bathroom for the colored help. It’s been endorsed by the White Citizens’ Council.
Maybe we should just build you a bathroom outside, Hilly. You ought not to joke about the colored situation. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect our children. Your lead, Elizabeth. [sermon on radio] [plates clinking] – Aibileen? – Yes, ma’am.
Do you think you’d be willing to help me with those Miss Myrna letters? Miss Myrna get it wrong a lot of times. Be good to get it right. [both chuckling] Thank you, Aibileen. All that talk in there today.
.. Hilly’s talk? I’m sorry you had to hear that. [sermon continues] Is that Preacher Green’s sermon? Yes, ma’am, it is. That reminds me so much of my maid, Constantine. I know Constantine. We’re in church circle together.
Have you seen her lately? No, ma’am. Did you know that she had quit us? Quit? I got home from school a week ago, and my mama told me she had quit. Back in March, she went to live with her daughter, Rachel.
In Chicago. Did you hear that? Do you have her phone number? There you are, Skeeter. Hilly wants you to put her initiative in the League newsletter. OK. I’ll be back tomorrow, Aibileen, to get started on those Miss Myrna letters.
Y’all make it quick. Tomorrow is silver polishing day. OK? Hi, Jameso. How you, Miss Eugenia? Mama? Mama. [woman] Yoo-hoo. Mama? Back here, honey! [music on radio] Is this a little too young? That’s a little too everything.
Oh, hell. You’re right. OK. Much better. Your daddy bought me this dress in ’58. Mama, I want to ask you about Constantine. Right after Ole Miss won the Sugar Bowl. – Come on. You try it on. – What really happened? Skeeter, your mother is sick.
She wants to see you in this dress. Unzip me. Come on. Did I tell you Fanny Peatrow got engaged? After she got that teller job, her mother said she was swimming in proposals. Well, good for fair Fanny Peatrow.
Eugenia, your eggs are dying. Would it kill you to go on a date? Just show a little gumption. Careful now, careful. Oh, now look at this. This dress is just precious on you. Just take it in a little here.
Little there. – Get your hair fixed. – I got a job today. Where? Writing for The Jackson Journal. [pulling up zipper] Great. You can write my obituary! “Charlotte Phelan, dead! Her daughter, still single.
” Mother, would it really be so bad if I never met a husband? Skeeter! Skeeter! [shouting] Skeeter! I need to ask you something. I read the other day about how some girls get unbalanced. They start thinking these.
.. …unnatural thoughts. Are you… Do you, uh… …find men attractive? Are you having unnatural thoughts about girls or women? Oh, my God. Because this article says there’s a cure. A special root tea! Mother, I want to be with girls as much as you want to be with Jameso.
– Eugenia! – Unless, of course, you do! Oh! [Skeeter exclaiming] Carlton’s bringing Rebecca to dinner. Try to look presentable! [laughing] What the hell you know about cleaning a house, Skeeter? It’s a start, Carlton.
If you say so. I thought you wanted to write books. Now, y’all leave Sister alone. – I’m proud of you, sweetheart. – The irony of it all. Giving advice on how to keep up a home when she doesn’t even.
.. Oh, no, Pascagoula. You couldn’t have known this, but I’m allergic to almonds. Sorry, Miss Eugenia, I’ll get you another one. You know, last time I had an almond, I stopped liking men. Oh, my Lord.
Oh, no, Rebecca, it’s fine. There’s a special root tea for that now. You have pushed it, young lady. Daddy. What happened to Constantine? 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. I don’t believe you. [sighing] She would’ve written and told me. Did you fire her? We were just a job to her, honey. With them, it’s all about money.
You’ll understand that once you’ve hired help of your own. – She raised me. – She did not! She worked here for 29 years! It was a colored thing and I put it behind me! Excuse me a moment, Rebecca. My daughter has upset my cancerous ulcers.
[door slamming] [birds calling] What you doing hiding out here, girl? I couldn’t tell Mama I didn’t get asked to the dance. It’s all right. Some things we just got to keep to ourselves, right? All the boys say I’m ugly.
Mama was third runner-up in the Miss South Carolina pageant. I wish you’d quit feeling sorry for yourself. Now, that’s ugly. Ugly is something that goes up inside you. It’s mean and hurtful, like them boys.
Now you’re not one of them, is you? I didn’t think so, honey. Every day… Every day you’re not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you’re gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: “Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?” You hear me? “Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?” All right? As for your mama, she didn’t pick her life.
It picked her. But you… …you’re gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see. Come on, go home with me till the dance over. Come on. [chuckling] Miss Stein, you said in your letter to write about what disturbs me, particularly if it bothers no one else.
Come on. And I understand that now. Continue. I’d like to write something from the point of view of the help. These colored women raise white children, and in 20 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? I’m listening. Margaret Mitchell glorified the mammy figure, – [sighing] – who dedicates her whole life to a white family.
But nobody ever asked Mammy how she felt about it. So, a side to this never before heard? Yes. ‘Cause nobody ever really talks about it down here. Skeeter, who are you talking to in there? Go away! – Who was that? – My mother.
Look. No maid in her right mind is ever gonna tell you the truth. That’s a hell of a risk to take in a place like Jackson, Mississippi. I already have a maid. Really? A Negro maid has already agreed to speak with you? Yes, ma’am.
Well… …I guess I can read what you come up with. The book biz could use a little rattling. Thank you, Miss 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 23-year-old educated woman. Go get yourself an apartment. [Skeeter] “Dear Miss Myrna: When I’m chopping onions, how do I keep tears out of my eyes?” [Aibileen] Shoot, that’s easy.
You tell her hold a matchstick between her teeth. Is it lit? No, ma’am. [Hilly] Miss Leefolt said you could start right away. Build it just like the bathroom at my house. Let’s see. [gasping] Right there.
– That’ll be nice. – Yes, ma’am. [thunder rumbling] My goodness, we got to run back to the car. Come on. [Hilly] Bye, Skeeter! Aibileen. There’s something else I want to write about. I would need your help.
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. And we could show what it’s like to work for, say, Elizabeth? You know what Miss Leefolt do to me if she knew I was telling stories on her? I was thinking that we wouldn’t have to tell her.
The other maids would have to keep it a secret, too. Other maids? I was hoping to get four or five. [rain falling] To show what it’s really like in Jackson. [thunder rolling] Show what y’all get paid, and the babies and the bathrooms.
The good and the bad. [door slamming] I bought you this damn house. I put up with your new clothes and trips to New Orleans, but this takes the goddamn cake. [Elizabeth] Hilly spoke to the surgeon general, and she also said it’ll add value to our home.
I guess Mae Mobley can go to college in that damn bathroom! Hilly’s covering the cost and said you could just do William’s taxes to pay her back. We don’t take orders from the Holbrooks. Skeeter, how you doing? Fine.
[Mae Mobley crying] Fix me a sandwich, Aibileen. Aibileen, Mae Mobley’s crying her eyes out. Skeeter. I’m sorry, but I think it’s best if you leave now. Oh, sure, sure. And this Miss Myrna thing isn’t going to work out with Aibileen.
I’m sorry. [thunder cracking] [rain pouring] You’re making it hotter, flapping your arms like that, Minny. Look how big the waves are, Minny. [wind howling] Let’s go to the beach. Run, get Mr. Walters! He loves riding these waves! You know we went to Biloxi on our honeymoon? Yes, ma’am.
Are we in Biloxi, Minny? No, ma’am. We ain’t. Why don’t you sit down here for a spell. And then me and you will go on down to the beach in a little while. How about that? [rattling] Uh… Miss Hilly? Mm-hm? Never mind.
You go on ahead and use the inside bath, Minny, it’s all right. Oh, for crying out loud, it’s just a little rain. She can go on up and get an umbrella from William’s study. I believe she was working for me before you dragged us both here.
[scoffing] Daddy ruined you. I’m just gonna get your tea. [door handle rattling] [Hilly] Minny? Minny, are you in there? Yes, ma’am. And just what are you doing? [flushing] [shouting] Get off my toilet! [pounding on door] [exclaiming angrily] You are fired, Minny Jackson! Go on! [Aibileen] Eighteen people died in Jackson that day.
Ten white and eight black. – [Aibileen murmuring] – [Mae Mobley fretting] God don’t pay no mind to color once He decide to set a tornado loose. Aibee’s here, honey.
Aibee’s here. [fly buzzing] [footsteps approaching] [Elizabeth] Hurry, Aibileen. Mae Mobley is up, and I’m off to the doctor. That’s Aibee’s bathroom, Mama. Hey, Aibee! No, no, no, honey. Promise me you won’t go in there, OK? – [flushing] – Yes, ma’am.
I’m right here, Baby Girl. Isn’t it so nice to have your own, Aibileen? Yes, ma’am. You’re my real mama, Aibee. [indistinct conversation] – Is that Minny? – Minny. Hey, Aibileen! Hey, Minny! Mm-hmm. Where you headed? I got some business to tend to, so y’all just mind your own.
All right, then. Well, bye! Bye! Now is she mad at me ’cause I got that job at Miss Hilly’s? Don’t worry about her. She always mad about something. [Skeeter] Aibileen. Yes, ma’am. Everything OK? Yeah, I just wanted to talk to you.
You got some more Miss Myrna questions for me? Oh, no, I just wanted to talk about… [horn honking] 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. They set my cousin Shinelle’s car on fire, just ’cause she went down to the voting station. A book like this has never been written before. ‘Cause there’s a reason. I do this with you, I might as well burn my own house down.
I promise we’ll be careful. This already ain’t careful, Miss Skeeter! You not knowing that is what’s scaring me the most. Scare me more than Jim Crow. All right. Here’s my phone number. My car’s here.
I could take you home. No, ma’am. [Aibileen] “No person shall require any white female to nurse in wards or rooms in which Negro men are placed. Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, 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 – [phone ringing] or circulating written matter urging for public acceptance or social equality between whites and Negroes is subject to imprisonment.
“ Hello? [sighs] Aibileen, I done went and did it now. I went to Miss Hilly’s house this afternoon. Why, Minny? She done told every white woman in town I’m a thief. Said I stole a candelabra.
Oh, but I got her back. What you did? I can’t tell you. I ain’t telling nobody. [doorbell ringing] I done something terrible awful to that woman, and now she know what I done.
Sorry. Minny. She got what she deserved, Aibileen. But now I ain’t gonna never get no job again. Oh, Lord, Leroy gonna kill me. [sighing] [door opening] [footsteps] Leroy? [Leroy] What you done did now, Minny? [clattering] – Get off that phone, woman! – Leroy, please! Minny? Minny! [Minny] Please! Please! [Leroy] Come here! [man] Please open your Bibles to Exodus.
Chapter four, verse ten. God, having asked Moses to free the Israelites… [congregation murmuring] …Moses answered: “Oh, my Lord. I am not eloquent. I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.
” [murmuring in agreement] See, courage… isn’t just about being brave. [all] Amen! 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.
Amen? – Amen. [piano begins playing] [preacher] See, love, as exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ, is to be prepared to put yourself in harm’s way – for your fellow man. – [all agreeing] 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. Let’s stand. All right. [knocking at door] Quick. Come quick. I parked way up on State Street and caught a cab here, like you asked. Got dropped two streets over? Mm-hm.
I know now that it’s against the law, what we’re doing. I’ve never seen you out of uniform before. You look really nice. Thank you. 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? This isn’t about me. It doesn’t matter how I feel. You gonna have to change my name. Mine, Miss Leefolt’s. Everybody. Do you have other maids that are interested? That gonna be hard.
What about Minny? Minny got her some stories, sure enough, but she ain’t real keen on talking to white peoples right now. What does it feel like to raise a white child when your own child’s at home being looked after by somebody else? It feel.
.. Is that your son? Yes, ma’am. Can we move on to the next question? Aibileen, you don’t have to call me ma’am. Not here. Uh… 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? I thought I might write my stories down and read ’em to you.
Ain’t no different than writing down my prayers. OK. Sure. I don’t say my prayers out loud. I can get my point across a lot better writing ’em down. I write an hour, sometimes two, every night. And after my prayers last night, I got some stories down, too.
Go ahead. “My first white baby to ever look after was named Alton Carrington Speers. It was 1925, and I had just turned 14. I dropped out of school to help Mama with the bill. Alton’s mama died of lung disease.
” [sighs] I loved that baby. And he loved me. That’s when I learned I could make children feel proud of theyself. Alton used to always be asking me how come I was black. Just ate him up. And one time, I told him it was ’cause I drank too much coffee.
You should have seen his face. This was just so great. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your doing this with me. What changed your mind? God. And Miss Hilly Holbrook. [radio on, indistinct] Miss Hilly.
.. …I would like to ask you and Mr. William something. My twin boys graduated from high school, both on the honor roll. Me and my husband, we been saving for years to send them to Tougaloo. We’re short about $75 on one of the tuitions.
Whoo! I am late. I gotta get going. See you tonight, honey. OK. [door opens, closes] Go on. Well, now we’re… [clears throat] …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 work every day for free till it was paid off. That’s not working for free, Yule Mae. That’s paying off a debt. Yes, ma’am. As a Christian, I’m doing you a favor.
See, God don’t give charity to those who are well and able. You need to come up with this money on your own. OK? Yes, ma’am. You’ll thank me one day. [Minny] You cooking white food, you taste it with a different spoon.
They see you put the tasting spoon back in the pot, might as well throw it all out. Spoon, too. And you use the same cup, same fork, same plate every day. And you put it up in the cabinet. You tell that white woman that’s where you’re gonna keep it from now on out.
Don’t do it and see what happens. – Morning, ladies. – [woman] Morning, Minny. When you’re serving white folks coffee, set it down in front of them. Don’t hand it to ’em, ’cause your hands can’t touch.
And don’t hit on they children. White folks like to do they own spanking. And last thing. Come here. Look at me. No sass-mouthing. No sass-mouthing. I mean it. Give your mama a kiss. [Aibileen] Leroy had made Sugar quit school to help him with the bills.
And every day Minny went without a job, might have been a day Leroy took her from our world. Good morning, everybody. But I knew. I knew the only white lady Miss Hilly hadn’t gotten to with her lies.
[excitedly] Hey! [giggling] Come on! No sass-mouthing, Minny Jackson. No sass-mouthing. Aibileen said you’d be on time. I’m Celia Rae Foote. I’m Minny Jackson. You, uh… cooking something? One of those upside-down cakes from a magazine.
It ain’t working out too good. Come on, let’s get you a cold Coca-Cola. Come on. This here is the kitchen. What in the hell? I guess I got some learning to do. [scoffs] You sure do. Johnny’s grandmama left him this house when she died.
And then Johnny’s mama wouldn’t let me change a thing. But if I had it my way, this place would be wall-to-wall white carpet with gold trim. None of this old stuff. The main house has five beds and baths, and then the pool house has two more beds and baths.
When y’all gonna start having some children, filling up all these empty beds? – I’m pregnant now. – Oh. Gonna be eating for two. That’s double the cooking. I know. It’s an awful lot to do. Five other maids have already turned me down.
Let me at least get you some bus money. Now, uh… when you hear me say I don’t want to clean this house? Wait. So you’ll do it? [shrieks] [laughing happily] Ooh. No hugging. No hugging. I’m sorry. This is the first time I’ve hired a maid.
Come on. [laughing, giggling] – You hungry? – No, ma’am. Hold on a minute. We gots to talk about some things first. Oh. I work Sunday through Friday. No, you can’t work at all on the weekends. OK.
What time you want me here? After 9:00, and you gotta leave before 4:00. OK. Now… What your husband say you can pay? Johnny doesn’t know I’m bringing in help. And what Mr. Johnny gonna do when he come home and find a colored woman in his house? 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. I’ll be here tomorrow morning about 9:15. [chuckling] Great. – Miss Celia? – Hmm? I think you done burned up your cake. Doggone it! [running] [Hilly] OK, let’s see.
What’s first up on the agenda? Mm. We are running behind on our coat drive, girls, so hurry up and clean out those closets. But our Christmas benefit, however, is right on schedule.
Mary Beth? Well, thanks to y’all, I can announce that we already filled every raffle slot for baked goods! [all cheering] [Hilly] Think we can put a dent in African children’s hunger this year? A big dent! Now.
.. …I just found out the surgeon general has reviewed the Home Health Sanitation Initiative that I drafted, and he passed it along to Governor Barnett! Skeeter, when can we expect to see the initiative in the newsletter? I gave it to you a month ago.
I gave that to you myself. Would you please stand, Skeeter? I’ll have it in there real soon. Great. [up-tempo music] Sorry I’m late. Hey! Thanks. Hilly, I really am sorry about the newsletter. It’s just with Mama being sick and all.
Oh, it’s fine. I made you the egg and olive on rye, Miss Skeeter. Oh, thank you, Henry. You remembered. You’re welcome. Oh, Hilly, tell her. I can hardly stand it. He’s coming. Oh, Skeeter, Stuart’s definitely coming this time.
Next Saturday week. Well, he’s canceled twice before. Don’t you think maybe that’s a sign? Don’t you dare say that. You know I’m not gonna be his type. Damn it, Skeeter, I’m not gonna let you miss out on this because your mother convinced you you’re not good enough for somebody like him.
Saturday night. Good morning. Good morning, Baby Girl. Good morning. I reckon I’m ready to talk about Miss Leefolt now. Baby Girl still gotta wear a diaper when she sleep at night. And it don’t get changed till I get there in the morning.
That about 10 hours she gotta sleep in her mess. Now Miss Leefolt pregnant with her second baby. Lord… I pray this child turn out good. It’s a lonely road if a mama don’t think their child is pretty.
That’s very true. Miss Leefolt should not be having babies. Write that down. Treelore would like me doing this. He always said we were gonna have a writer in the family one day. I always thought it was gonna be him.
Maybe it’s gonna be me. [Minny] Aibileen, Aibileen. They done set a bomb off in Medgar Evers’ carport. Yule Mae told me what y’all was up to. I didn’t want to believe it. And just what makes you think colored people need your help? – Why you care? – Minny.
Maybe you just want to get Aibileen in trouble. No. I want to show her perspective. So people might understand what it’s like from your side. Well, it’s a real Fourth of July picnic. It’s what we dream of doing all weekend long.
Get back into they house, polish the silver. And we just love not making minimum wage or getting Social Security. And how we love they children when they little. And then they turn out just like they mamas.
I know. Maybe things can change. What law’s gonna say you gotta be nice to your maid? You don’t have to do this now, Minny. You damn right I don’t! You two give me the heart palpitations. [door slamming] And that’s a good mood.
[sighing] [man chattering indistinctly] All right. I’m gonna do it. But I need to make sure she understand this ain’t no game we playing here. Slide your chair out from under that table. Face me. I need to see you square on at all times.
I gotta come up with your questions, too? Oh. Uh, let’s begin with where you were born. Belzoni, Mississippi, on my great-auntie’s sofa. Next. – I put the green beans in first. – OK. Then I get on the pork chops, so I can get started on that cornbread.
[Aibileen] Once Minny got to talking about food, she liked to never stop. And when she got to talking about the white ladies, – it took all night. – [Minny] Then she say, “Oh, Minny, I’m gonna give you a paid vacation.
” I ain’t never had no paid vacation in my life. A week later I come back, and they done moved to Mobile. [Aibileen laughing] Miss Lazy Fingers scared I’d find a new job before she moved. Ain’t that right, Aibileen? We gots to get some more maids.
It hard. You go try and see. OK, I will. We gone and done it now. [laughing] Skeeter! Get down here! Something just arrived from New York for you. [shrieking] What is that? The Shinalator. All the way from New York City.
I’m a good mother. Come on. Sit down. The whole system cost 11 dollars. Even smells expensive. You’re gonna look beautiful on your date tonight. I can feel the hope in your fingers. Holy shit. – You shrunk five inches.
– Oh, my God. You’ll be able to wear heels tonight. You’re not leaving the house in those awful Mexican man shoes. Can I take the Cadillac? We promised the Cadillac to Carlton and Rebecca tonight, so William’s cousin will just have to come pick you up himself.
I’ll take the truck. It’s hooked up to the motor grader. I’ll drive slow. [mother] Skeeter! Skeeter! Now remember, no gentleman wants to spend the evening with a sourpuss. Don’t mope! Smile! And for heaven’s sakes, don’t sit like some squaw Indian! Cross your ankles! I love you! Stuart, she’ll be here any minute.
Hey. Skeeter. Boys, we’ll be right back. Y’all talk about quarterbacks or something. Yule Mae, get Miss Skeeter a Coca-Cola. Yes, ma’am. [♪ Frankie Avalon: “Swingin’ On A Rainbow”] ♪ You’ve got me swingin’ on a rainbow ♪ ♪ Walkin’ around in the rain ♪ ♪ Playin’ with the raindrops ♪ – [whistling] – ♪ I’m doing flip flops.
.. ♪ Want a drink? Just water, please. [sighing] Double Old Kentucky, straight with a water back. Make that two backs. You sure you don’t want to just make it the whole bottle and a straw? Honey, there’s the lieutenant governor.
Let’s go say hi. Good to see you, sir. You remember my wife? Hi, how are you? Good to see you. [burping] So, what do you do with your time? You work? I write. But right now I’m working on a domestic maintenance column for The Jackson Journal.
You mean housekeeping. Jesus, I can’t think of anything worse than reading a cleaning column, except for maybe writing one. Well, I can. Working with a bunch of greasy, stinky men in the middle of the ocean.
It sounds like a ploy to find a husband, becoming an expert in keeping house. Well, aren’t you a genius? You figured out my whole scheme. Isn’t that what all you girls from Ole Miss major in… .
..professional husband hunting? Who is hungry? I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant? Or were you just born stupid? [coughing] [squawking] [chopping] So, what can you cook? Oh, um, I can cook cornpone.
Boil potatoes. I can do grits. [laughing] Well… …I reckon if there’s anything you ought to know about cooking, it’s this. The most important invention since they put mayonnaise in a jar. – You got gum in your hair, – [sizzling] you got a squeaky door hinge.
.. Crisco. How pretty. Looks like frosting. You got bags under your eyes. Want to soften your husband’s scaly feet. Mm-hm. Crisco. But it’s best for frying chicken. Frying chicken just… …tend to make you feel better about life.
At least me, anyway. Mm, I love me some fried chicken. Now… …shake that. Oh. This is so much fun! All right, all right. The chicken already dead, Miss Celia. [giggling] Yep. He dead. [sighing] [Celia] There you are.
I’m starved. Looks so good. We done been over this, Miss Celia. You supposed to eat in the dining room. That’s how it works. Here, let me take your plate back. I’m fine right here, Minny. [sighing] What? I just want you to know I’m real grateful you’re here.
You gots plenty more to be grateful for than me. And look, now I ain’t messing around no more. Now Mr. Johnny gonna catch me here, and shoot me dead right here on this no-wax floor. You gots to tell him.
Ain’t he wondering how the cooking’s so good? You’re right. Maybe we ought to burn the chicken a little. Minny don’t burn chicken. I like this Sarah Ross. She testifies without complaining too much.
And that Bertha, she’s got chutzpah, I’ll give her that. So you liked it? Eugenia, Martin Luther King just invited the entire country to march with him in D.C. in August. This many Negroes and whites have not worked together since Gone with the Wind.
How many stories have you recorded thus far? The ones you’ve read. Two domestics, that’s all? [scoffing] [Skeeter] I’m real close to getting more interviews. Don’t send me anything else until you do have more maids.
Yes, ma’am. How… how many more? 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. Now good night to you, Miss Phelan.
We need a dozen more. Me and Aibileen done asked everybody we know. Thirty-one maids. They all too scared. Think we crazy. Well… If we don’t get more, we’re not getting published. [Minny] I gots plenty stories, Miss Skeeter.
Just write ’em down and invent the maid that said it. You’re already making up names. Just make up the maids, too. We’re not gonna do that. That would be wrong. Don’t give up on this, Miss Skeeter. It wouldn’t be real.
They killed my son. He fell carrying two-by-fours at the mill. Truck run over him, crushed his lung. [whispering] Aibileen. That white foreman threw his body on back of a 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. [voice breaking] Laid him down on that sofa right there. He died right in front of me. He was just 24 years old, Miss Skeeter.
Best part of a person’s life. Anniversary of his death comes… …every year, and I can’t breathe. But to y’all, it’s just another day of bridge. You stop this… …everything I wrote, he wrote, everything he was gonna die with him.
[Miss Hilly] Well, I am just honored to be hosting Elizabeth’s shower. Doesn’t she look glowing, everybody? – [clapping] – Yes, she does! Honey, you hold on to it to the bitter end. [women laughing] – [Elizabeth] I’ll try.
– Well, congratulations. I’m hungry, Mommy. She’s always hungry. [all laughing] You know she can hear you, Elizabeth. [Aibileen] I’ll cut you a piece of cake, baby. Go on, now. Aibileen, are you enjoying your new bathroom over at Elizabeth’s? Nice to have your own.
Isn’t it, Aibileen? Yes, ma’am. And I thank you. Separate, but equal. That’s what Ross Barnett says, and you can’t argue with the governor. Well, certainly not in Mississippi, the birthplace of modern-day government.
Hey, Miss Skeeter. Can I get you something? No, thanks. Yule Mae, I wanted to talk to you about something. I already know what you’re gonna ask, Miss Skeeter. Minny and Aibileen already did. I’m trying to get my boys off to college.
It’s worthwhile what y’all doing, but… …but my boys are worth more. I understand. What do you understand, Skeeter? Yule Mae was just saying how excited she is that her boys are gonna go to college.
Did you also ask Miss Skeeter if you could borrow money? Of course not. I’m gonna put Billy down for his nap. Excuse me. Come on, baby. [clearing throat] Skeeter, are you intentionally not putting my initiative in the newsletter? No, no, not at all.
I just have been really busy with Mama. I know. I know, you must be so worried about your mother, but, um… I’m worried about you. Reading this stuff? 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. I’ll be on the lookout. Put my initiative in the newsletter. OK? [footsteps approaching] Skeeter, get up! – No! What? – We gotta get dressed.
What is… what’s wrong? Don’t panic. Don’t panic. There’s a particularly tall and very handsome man named Stuart here for you. Oh, God. Oh, mother. You would not like him. Trust me. He’s a drunken asshole.
Love and hate are two horns on the same goat, Eugenia, and you need a goat. Put that on. Hurry! Look, I know it was a few weeks back, but I came to say I’m sorry for the way I acted. Who sent you, William or Hilly? Neither.
Hilly. But I wanted to come, OK. I was rude, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Well, I haven’t. – So you can just go. – Goddamn it! I told Hilly I wasn’t ready to go out on any date. Wasn’t even close to ready.
[sighing] I was engaged last year. She ended it. I’m sure she did. It’s not like that. I’m not always a jerk. Anyway, we had been dating since we were 15, and you know how it is. Actually, I don’t. I’ve never really dated anyone before.
Ever? Ever. All right, I, uh… [chuckling] Well, that must be it, then. – What? – You, Skeeter. I’ve never met a woman that says exactly what she’s thinking. – Well, I got plenty to say. – Yeah, I’ll bet you do.
You make me laugh, smile. Would you like to come have dinner with me? We could talk. I could actually listen to you this time. I can’t think of anything worse. Well, I understand, and I’m sorry. [clearing throat] That’s what I came here to say, and I said it.
Just give me a minute. Let me get my sweater. [♪ The Orlons: “The Wah-Watusi”] Not a big fan of oysters, huh? Oysters are a vehicle for crackers and ketchup. Well, here’s to new beginnings. [slurping] Mm.
[exaggerated slurping] You’re disgusting. 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. Really? You read ’em? All of ’em.
Very informative, too. I had no idea that ground egg shells got grease out of clothes. Well, I do my homework. You’re a good writer, Skeeter. Thank you. I want to be a journalist. Or maybe a novelist.
Or maybe both. I like that. You’re really smart. And pretty. ♪ Watusi makes you feel so good ♪ ♪ Wah-wah ♪ Skeeter. ♪ Wah Wah-Watusi ♪ I hope you get to write something really good.
Something you believe in. ♪ Made it for romance ♪ ♪ Wah… ♪ [phone ringing] [Elizabeth] Hello? – What? I’m coming! – [phone hanging up] Aibileen! Come on. We have to go help Hilly.
Right now! [car horn honking] – [sobbing] – [man laughing] – [camera clicking] – Oh! You’re trespassing! – It’s Skeeter! – [people laughing] She put it in the newsletter. Oh, my God. I specifically said, “Drop old coats at my house.
” – [shouting] Not commodes! – [crowd laughing] Why would she do this to me? I don’t know. I don’t know, Hilly. [sobbing] It’s so embarrassing. Oh, Lord. I go potty, Mommy. [shrieking] No! Mae Mobley! You get off of that toilet! You will catch diseases, do you hear me? [Mae Mobley crying] Mommy! You will catch diseases on those toilets.
You is kind, you is smart, you is important. Don’t shop for anything on Capitol Street. Let’s let the merchants down on Capitol Street feel the economic pinch. Let me say this to you.
I had one merchant to call me, and he said, “I want you to know that I’ve talked to my national office today, and they want me to tell you that we don’t need nigger business.
“ These are stores that help to support the White Citizens’ Council, the council that is dedicated to keeping you and I second-class citizens. Mama! Don’t encourage them like that.
– That is national news. – I won’t have it! You understand? How you doing, Miss Clark? All right, Henry. Thank you. How you doing? If God is willing, Miss Clark. If God is willing. That’s good. – Yeah.
– It’s good. [bus stopping] – [door opening] – [sirens wailing] What’s going on out there, mister? Colored people off. The rest of you, let me know where you’re going. I’ll get you close as I can.
[man] What happened? I don’t know. Some nigger got shot. – Where you headed? – Woodrow Wilson. Woodrow Wilson. All right. You gonna be all right, Miss Clark? I’ll be all right. You go on now, Henry.
– You want me to walk you? – No, thank you. I’ll be all right. [people chattering] You have a good night. Which way you going? [man] We view this as a cold, – brutal, deliberate… – [sirens wailing] .
..killing in a savage, uncivilized state. There is no state with a record that approaches that of Mississippi in inhumanity, murder, brutality – and racial hatred.
– [man shouting indistinctly] It is absolutely at the bottom of the list. [man 2] Fifteen minutes past midnight, Evers got out of his car beside his home in a Negro residential area.
In a vacant lot about 40 yards away, a sniper fired a single shot from a high-powered rifle at Evers’ silhouette. – I’m all right. Sit down. You all right? – I’m OK.
The bullet hit him in the back, crashed through his body, through a window, into the house. He died within an hour at a Jackson hospital. City detectives believe the fatal shot was fired from.
.. KKK shot him. An hour ago. Right in front of his children, Aibileen. We’re gonna pray for the Evers. We’re gonna pray for Myrlie. We living in hell. Trapped. Our kids trapped. [coughing] Sugar, take your brothers and sisters and y’all go on to bed.
Good night. Good night. Good night. [coughing] Oh. Good night, baby. What they gonna do if they catch us with Miss Skeeter? We’re gonna be careful. Hitch us to a pickup? Drag us behind? Shoot me in front of my children? We ain’t doing civil rights.
We just telling stories like they really happened. – You a fool, old woman. – [chuckling] A fool. [both laughing] [door opening] [phones ringing] Miss Phelan, the presses are heating up. We needed Miss Myrna 30 minutes ago.
Yes, sir. Chop-chop. Good Lord. [vacuum running] [thudding upstairs] [Minny] Miss Celia? Miss Celia? Minny, go home. I’ll see you tomorrow. You mess up your hair coloring again? I helped you fix it last time.
We got it back to butter batch. It was real pretty, remember? Miss Celia. I told you, go home! [loud thudding] [shouting] I said get out! [rattling] [sobbing] Why is there so much blood? [breathing heavily] Next one’s gonna catch, Miss Celia.
You just wait and see. We got married ’cause I was pregnant. Then I lost it a month later. Johnny wants kids now. What’s he gonna do with me? Well… Mr. Johnny just gonna have to get over it. [exhaling] He doesn’t know about the baby.
Or the two before. [sniffing] – That’s what Earl said. – Oh, uh-huh, that’s true. [indistinct chattering] [man] Yule Mae Davis? – What? – What you want me to do? You’re under arrest. Just call my husband.
Just call my husband. Wait a minute. I want my purse. No, you’re under arrest. I want to get my purse. [shouting] I want to get my purse! Aibee! – Don’t fight, Yule Mae! – Aibee! Aibee, I want my purse! I want my purse! [sobbing] Just let me go! [murmuring] [Hilly] I knew she was a thief the day she started.
A nigra walks into a pawn shop with a ring of such size and color. It took them all of ten minutes to find out where she worked. I am desperate for a grilled cheese sandwich. Are you? Are you? Do you want a grilled cheese sandwich? – [Billy] Oh, yes.
– [Hilly laughing] OK, just go sit down over there. [dishes clattering] Miss Skeeter, you best head on over to Miss Aibileen’s house. Now. I’m gonna help with your stories. I’m gonna help, too. Mm-hm.
We all are. – [all] That’s right. – I’ll help you. [woman] I used to take a shortcut every day when I went to work at Dr. Dixon’s house. Cut through that farmer’s lower forty to get there. One day this farmer was waiting for me with a gun.
Said he’d shoot me dead if I walked on his land again. Dr. Dixon went and paid that farmer double for two of those acres. Told him he was gonna start farming, too. But he bought that just for me, so I could get to work easy.
He did. I worked for Miss Jolene’s mother till the day she died. Then her daughter, Miss Nancy, asked me to come and work for her. Miss Nancy is a real sweet lady. But Miss Jolene’s ma done put it in her will I got to work for Miss Jolene.
Miss Jolene’s a mean woman. Mean for sport. Lord, I tried to find another job. But in everybody’s mind the French family and Miss Jolene owned me. Owned me. [Miss Stein] I leave early this week for Thanksgiving.
Our last editors’ meeting is December 17th, so if you want a prayer of this getting read, – I’d better have it by then. – That’s in three weeks. Otherwise it goes in the pile.
You do not want it in the pile. Yes, ma’am. And put something personal in there. Write about the maid who raised you. I understand. We have a lot of work to do before the benefit, don’t we? I know, but I think we’re on track.
I think we’re doing quite well. [doorbell ringing] – So good. – Mm-hm. – Who’s there? – I don’t know. Aibileen? Hey, Elizabeth! [outside] It’s me, Celia Foote. [Hilly stammering] I was in the neighborhood.
Thought I’d drop by. Everybody hide. Everybody get down, get down. Down, down, down! – Turn off the music. – Who are we hiding from? – Down. Shh! – [music stops] Hey! [all gasping, giggling] Shh! I brought a chocolate pie! My maid, Minny, made it.
[all giggling] [woman] She’s in the bushes. Don’t be taking those women any more pies, you understand? They made me stand there like I was the vacuum salesman. Why, Minny? ‘Cause they know about you getting knocked up by Mr.
Johnny. Mad you married one of they mens. And especially since Miss Hilly and Mr. Johnny had just broke up, too. So Hilly probably thinks I was fooling around with Johnny when they were still going steady.
Mm-hm. And Missus Walters always said Miss Hilly still sweet on Mr. Johnny, too. No wonder! They don’t hate me. They hate what they think I did. They hate you ’cause they think you white trash. I’m just gonna have to tell Hilly I ain’t no boyfriend stealer.
In fact, I’ll tell her Friday night at the benefit. You don’t need to be going to that benefit, Miss Celia. Did you hear me? Now you just stay home. That looks bad. Let me take a look. I gotta get these peas on.
I know you didn’t fall in no tub, Minny. [sighing] 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, “Go straight to hell.
” [church bell tolling] [man] From here, the members of the family… …visitors from foreign countries and others will walk to St. Matthew’s Cathedral.
Senator Edward Kennedy getting out of the car. Mrs. Kennedy. Robert Kennedy, Attorney General. Sweetheart, I gotta get down to the coast. I’ll be back in time for the benefit.
The world done gone crazy Miss Skeeter, and I’m scared. What if people find out what we writing, figure out Niceville really Jackson, figure out who who? Maybe we need us some insurance. [sighs] I told God I’d never speak of it again.
But we ain’t got no choice. Sorry. I need to tell y’all about the terrible awful I done to Miss Hilly. It might be the only thing that keep us safe. Mmm. Mm-mm-mm. So… Nobody wanted to hire a sass-mouthin’, thievin’ nigra.
Did they? Oh. Pie’s as good as always, Minny. I’m glad you like it. Mmm. Oh. If I take you back, I’ll have to cut your pay five dollars a week. Take me back? What do you put in here that makes it taste so good? That good vanilla from Mexico.
.. …and something else real special. Mmm. No, no, no, no, Missus Walters. That’s Miss Hilly’s special pie. Mama can have a piece. [scoffing] Cut her one. Go get a plate. [slamming pie down] Eat my shit.
What’d you say? I said, “Eat… my… shit.” Have you lost your mind? No, ma’am. But you about to. ‘Cause you just did. Did what? [gasping] [laughing] [laughing loudly] [gagging] And you didn’t eat just one.
– You had two slices! – [Hilly coughing] [laughing] [dish clattering] Run, Minny, run! You trying to get yourself killed? No! I wasn’t planning on telling, Aibileen. I just wanted to see her take a bite.
Then I was gonna leave. Be done with her forever. Before I knew it, I had done told that woman what 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] We can’t put that story in the book. We ain’t got no choice. Hilly Holbrook can’t let nobody know that pie story about her. Exactly. If people find out the terrible awful was you and Miss Hilly, we in trouble there ain’t words for.
Right! But don’t you see? She gonna go to her grave convincing folks this book ain’t about Jackson. Now that keeps us safe. Insured. No. No, that’s too dangerous. – [dishes clattering] – All right. Y’all two brought me into this, but I’m gonna finish it.
Now either put it in, or pull my parts out altogether. Y’all pick! [♪ “Little Drummer Boy”] ♪ Come, they told me ♪ ♪ Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum ♪ Thank you, Tommy. I should be out by 10:00.
– Yes, ma’am. – See you then. ♪ A newborn king to see ♪ ♪ Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum ♪ This is Jolene French, reporting from the African Children’s Benefit Ball, and I’m here with League President, Miss Hilly Holbrook.
Thanks, Jolene. And I’m just so excited for the auction tonight, aren’t you? I’m absolutely thrilled. [woman] Scandalous! Thank you. ♪ Then he smiled at me ♪ ♪ Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum ♪ [giggling] Hi! [strained laugh] – [shocked whispering] – ♪ Me and my drum ♪ Did you see what Miss Celia got on? Lord, have mercy.
Women better hold on they husbands tonight. [laughing] Miss Leefolt been working on that dress for four weeks and that’s what she came up with? – [both laughing] – Here. [♪ “Carolina”] ♪ Oh, Carolina ♪ ♪ Girl, can’t you see ♪ ♪ That I’ve been lonely ♪ ♪ As I could be ♪ ♪ Why don’t you come home ♪ Kiss me.
♪ Come home to me ♪ ♪ Oh, Carolina ♪ Minny! ♪ Oh, Carolina ♪ ♪ Girl, don’t you know ♪ [all cheering] ♪ That you been holding my poor soul… ♪ [indistinct chattering] [scoffing] [humming] Everybody enjoying the evening? Let’s give a nice round of applause for the help.
[all applauding] For all the men and women who have helped make tonight possible. A cause I’m sure is dear to their hearts as well. – Your cocktail. – Thank you. [stammering] Honey. Don’t you think you’ve had enough to drink? I wish you’d try and eat something.
I’m not having my stomach poke out. [drum roll] [exclaiming] OK, OK, everybody, quiet down. I got the list of the winners! [applause] OK. The winner of the beautiful mink car coat is… …Charlotte Phelan! – Congrats, Miss Phelan.
– [husband murmuring] Ladies, I hope your husbands take note of that. [giggling] Now it’s time for the baked goods. Ooh, yummy, yummy! The highest bid in baked goods goes to Minny Jackson’s chocolate pie.
Congratulations… …Hilly Holbrook! [Missus Walters] Oh! Hilly! That’s funny. I didn’t bid on anything. All right. And now it’s time for Danica’s strawberry jam. Shh! Congratulations, Hilly! I didn’t know you were a fan of Minny’s pies.
I’ve been wanting to talk to you all night. Minny said why you won’t be my friend. It’s ’cause you think me and Johnny went behind your back. [scoffing] – Wait. I want to talk… – [Hilly gasping] Oh, no.
I’m so sorry. Come here, sweetheart. Let me bring you back to your table. – I’m really sorry. – It’s all right. Don’t worry about it. What are you trying to do to me? What are you and that nigra up to? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
You liar! Who did you tell? I got pregnant after you and Johnny broke up! – Oh, shit! – Shut up, Mother! Johnny never cheated on you. At least not with me. Oh. Johnny would never cheat on me. I’m so sorry! I thought you’d be tickled you won that pie! You tell that nigra if she tells anybody, I will make her suffer! [Johnny] Hey, that is enough.
Celia. Hey, baby, what’s the matter? [labored breathing] – Cel? – Oh! Oh! – [vomiting] – [all groaning] Oh, shit. What a mess. Napkins. [Jolene] Why don’t we get back to the auction? Next up, Debby’s peppermint bark.
[Johnny] Celia! – [Jolene] It goes great with hot cocoa. – [Johnny] Celia! Oh, just come on home with us tonight, Mother. No, thanks. I’ve got a pie to eat. You throw that pie away right now. I spent good money on this pie.
I won it just for you. You signed me up? I may have trouble remembering my own name, or what country I live in, but there are 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. – Hey, how about a nightcap? – Let’s go. I’m not right for this kind of life, Minny. I don’t need a dining room table for 12 people. I couldn’t get two people over here if I begged. I can’t do this to Johnny anymore.
That’s why I gotta go back to Sugar Ditch. You can’t move back to Sugar Ditch. [sighing] Lord. I reckon it’s time you knew. Sit down. So Miss Hilly thought you knew about the terrible awful. That you was making fun of her.
It’s my fault she pounced on you. If you leave Mr. Johnny… …then Miss Hilly done won the whole ball game. Then she done beaten me… …and she done beat you. Thank you for telling me that. Lord, look at all these pages.
266. Mm-mm! So we just send it off? Just wait and see? Hope Miss Stein gonna publish it? Well, I have one more story to type before I put it in the mail, but other than that, we’re done. Which one you got left? Uh, mine.
I need to talk to you about Constantine. Oh, Eugenia, that was so long ago. What happened? Oh. [exhaling] What happened? She didn’t give me a choice. The Daughters of America had just appointed me state regent.
[applause] Grace Higginbotham, our esteemed president, came all the way down from Washington, D.C., to our house for the ceremony. [chattering, laughter] That’s just beautiful.
Look at that. She’d gotten so old and slow, Skeeter. [indistinct conversation] Yes, ma’am. It’s such an honor that you came all this way. [knocking on door] That’s all right. – Hello, Miss Charlotte.
– Rachel. We were expecting you next week. I decided to come early and surprise Mama. – Oh. – [door slamming] I’m entertaining. Why don’t you go around back. Wait in the kitchen. Go on now. I am sorry.
[conversation stops] Rachel, what are you doing? I’m just doing as I was told, Miss Charlotte. Going to the kitchen. But I’m gonna see my mama first. [shocked murmuring] Hello, Mama. Go on to the kitchen, baby.
I’ll be there directly. You may put up with this kind of nonsense, but I do not. Get out of this house, Rachel. You heard her. Go on, girl. Miss Charlotte, let me take her to the kitchen. Come on, baby.
Let’s go. Charlotte. Both of you. Leave. Now. Come on, Mama. Come on now. Constantine didn’t do anything wrong. And you love Rachel. I know you do. She was our president. What was I supposed to do? She did you the biggest favor of your life.
She taught me everything. Well, you idolized her too much. You always have. I needed someone to look up to. Well, I… I went to her house the next day, but she had already gone. How could you not tell me all this? Because I didn’t want to upset you during your final exams.
I knew you’d blame me, and it wasn’t my fault! I have to go find her. She needs me. – Eugenia. – What? We sent your brother up to Chicago to bring Constantine home. When he got there… …she had died.
You broke her heart. [sobbing] I’m so… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! I’m sorry. [Aibileen] They printed a few thousand copies with the worst advance Miss Stein had ever seen. Baby, what you doing with Alicia book? You can’t read.
They sent Miss Skeeter $600. She broke that money up and gave it to each of us. Divided 13 ways, that came to about $46 each. Y’all finish your homework. Aibileen.
Aibileen! We just got this from Miss Skeeter. Look at it. Look at it. [laughing] Look at it! Minny, we’re rich! [Missus Walters] “She fired me for using her inside toilet. Put me out in a storm and told me never to come back.
But I did come back. I came back with a pie I had baked to say I’m sorry. I watched her eat…” [chuckling] Well, it’s a wonderful book, Hilly. Filled with gripping testimonials from Mississippi’s housekeepers.
OK, Mama. I need to run. Well. You should read the book, Hilly. It’s quite scandalous. Sounds like… Jackson, if you ask me. Quite scandalous. What book? What’s it called again? Uh… The Help.
H-E-L-P. There it is. You told me to write something good. – Something I believed in. – It’s not what I believe in. That joke you pulled with Hilly with the toilets, that’s funny. Why would you do this to us? I don’t even know why you care.
– What? – Things are fine around here. Why go stir up trouble? Trouble’s already here, Stuart. I had to tell you this. You needed to know. Goddamn right I needed to know. You should have told me this from the start.
You’re a selfish woman, Skeeter. Stuart. I think you’re better off being alone. [♪ Bob Dylan: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”] ♪ Well, it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe ♪ ♪ It don’t matter anyhow ♪ ♪ And it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe ♪ ♪ If’n you don’t know by now ♪ ♪ When the rooster crows at the break of dawn ♪ ♪ Look out your window and I’ll be gone ♪ ♪ You’re the reason I’m a travelin’ on ♪ ♪ Don’t think twice, it’s all right ♪ Yeah.
Well, did you get to that part yet that I was telling you about? OK, no, don’t read ahead, whatever you do. “What you done put up in this?” “She said, ‘My shit.'” [all howling] [gasping] [screaming] What’s the matter, Hilly? [Hilly] Get off of me! Get off! [William] Ouch! Stop hitting me! [Hilly screaming] I heard that Betty character might be Mary Elizabeth.
[exhaling] It’s not Jackson. And that book is garbage. I bet the whole thing is made up by some nigra. And Jolene, didn’t your mama leave Cora to you in her will? Yes, but that’s not odd, is it? Happens all the time, right? The book is not about Jackson.
[♪ Chubby Checker: “Let’s Twist Again”] ♪ Come on, everybody ♪ ♪ Clap your hands ♪ ♪ Oh, you’re lookin’ good ♪ ♪ I’m gonna sing my song ♪ ♪ It won’t take long ♪ ♪ We’re gonna do the Twist and it goes like this ♪ ♪ Come on, let’s twist again ♪ ♪ Like we did last summer ♪ ♪ Yeah ♪ ♪ Let’s twist again ♪ ♪ Twistin’ time is here ♪ [tires screeching] ♪ Round and round and up and down ♪ ♪ We go again ♪ ♪ Oh, baby, make me know You love me so ♪ ♪ And then ♪ ♪ Let’s twist again ♪ ♪ Like we did last summer ♪ ♪ Girl ♪ ♪ Let’s twist again ♪ ♪ Like we did last year ♪ ♪ Come on ♪ ♪ Twist again ♪ ♪ Twistin’ time is here ♪ ♪ Bop, bop ♪ What the hell? What are you doing here? – [gasping] – I’ve contacted my lawyer.
Hibbie Goodman? He’s the best libel attorney in the state. Oh, Missy, you’re going to jail. You can’t prove anything. Oh, I 100 percent know you wrote it, ’cause nobody else in town is as tacky as you.
You don’t know anything, Hilly. – Oh, I don’t, do I? – [exclaiming] 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 nigger Minny. Do I have plans for her. Careful, Hilly.
– That’s chapter 12. – [gasping] Don’t give yourself away now. That was not me! I’ve come to tell your mother what a hippie you’ve become. She’s gonna be disgusted by you. Why, Hilly. Is everything OK, you two? Oh, Mrs.
Phelan. Hilly, you’re… You’re a sweaty mess. – Are you ill? – No, ma’am. Darling. Oh. No husband wants to come home and see that. Oh. I didn’t have time to get fixed up. You know, Hilly, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’ve been eating too much pie.
Mrs. Phelan, I came here… 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! – [laughs out loud] – [car door slamming] [engine starting] [exhaling] Eugenia.
Take me inside, please. Yes, ma’am. Skeeter, do you have plans tomorrow? – No, ma’am. – Good. Because we are going shopping. No single daughter of mine is going to New York City representing the great state of Mississippi without a proper cosmopolitan wardrobe.
How do you know about New York? Oh, well, Miss Stein called last night. Courage sometimes skips a generation. Thank you for bringing it back to our family. I can’t leave you like this. Eugenia, I have made a decision.
My health’s been on the uptick these last few weeks, and I know the doctor says it’s some kind of last strength nonsense, but I have decided not to die. Oh, Mama. It’s too late. I tried calling Fanny Mae’s to make all your hair appointments for the next 20 years, but they wouldn’t allow it.
[chuckling] I have never been more proud of you. Thank you. Mama. Need some help with those? Minny. – Miss Celia! – Minny, hey, stop! Minny! – Miss Celia! – Minny! – Stay back! – Hey. I’m not here to hurt you! Girl.
.. You gonna put the stick down? Uh-uh. [breathing heavily] Listen, Celia finally told me about the babies. All of ’em. But I also know, the minute you started working here, she started getting better.
So, you saved her life. You knew I was here the whole time? [laughs] Fried chicken and okra on the first night? I mean, y’all could have at least put some cornpone on the table. No. I couldn’t let you eat no more cornpone, Mr.
Johnny. Thanks to you, now I’ve had to let out every pair of pants I own. You just leave that. Here you go. Let’s head on up the house. [snickering] What’s this? I cooked it all by myself. [Johnny] Yes, she did.
She was up all night. I wanted to do something special. I wanted to say thank you. So… …I ain’t losing my job? No, you got a job here for the rest of your life. If you want it. That’s a mile-high meringue, Miss Celia.
– Please. – Thank you. Ooh. You remember to check the thighs? – Mm-hm. Cooked clean through. – Ain’t pink in the middle? Uh-uh. Just the way you taught me. Looky here. [Aibileen] That table of food gave Minny the strength she needed.
She took her babies out from under Leroy and never went back. [Aibileen] What are all these cars doing out here? – We late? – No, we ain’t late. Why ain’t you singing? We got to worry about getting in there and getting our seats.
Come on now, we late! [applause] – Who we clapping for? – Honey, we clapping for you! Come on down, Sister Clark! Come on. Go on. Go on now. [crowd cheering, chattering] All right! Yeah. Come on. All right, all right.
Now, uh… …this is an important time in our community. And we have to thank you for what you have done. [men] Yes, indeed. Now… …we know you couldn’t put your name in here… …so we all signed our own.
Thank you. [laughing] Come on, now. Come on. [Aibileen] Churches over two counties signed our books. All for you and me. It’s beautiful. What’s wrong? I got a job offer from Harper and Row in New York.
Congratulations! I’m not taking it. What you mean you’re not taking it? I can’t just leave you two here when things are getting bad from the mess that I created. No. If bad things happen, ain’t nothing you can do about it.
And 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] You ain’t got nothing left here but enemies in the Junior League.
You done burned every bridge there is. And you ain’t never gonna get another man in this town. – Everybody know that. – [laughing] So don’t walk your white butt to New York, run it! [Minny] Looky here, Miss Skeeter.
I’m gonna take care of Aibileen. And she’s gonna take care of me. Go find your life, Miss Skeeter. [laughing] [Elizabeth] Aibileen, can you come in here, please? Good morning. Aibileen, the silver I lent Elizabeth last week.
It not polished good? Humidity been fighting me on polishing day. When you returned it, three pieces were missing from the felt wrapper. A fork and two spoons. [breathing heavily] Let me… Let me go check in the kitchen.
Maybe I left some behind. You know as well as I do that silver’s not in the kitchen. You check in Mae Mobley’s bed? Since Lil Man was born, she been putting things… Do you hear her, Elizabeth? She’s trying to blame it on a toddler.
I ain’t got no silver. She says she doesn’t have them. Then it behooves me to inform you that you are fired, Aibileen. And I’ll be calling the police. Aibee, my throat hurts. I’ll go get some syrup, Miss Leefolt.
Elizabeth can take care of her own children. – I’ll go get the cough syrup. – Come here, Lil Man. I’m OK. I didn’t steal no silver. Maybe I can’t send you to jail for what you wrote, but I can send you for being a thief.
I know something about you. Don’t you forget that. From what 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 is free. – Nobody will believe what you wrote! – I don’t know! I been told I’m a pretty good writer.
Already sold a lot of books. [footsteps approaching] Call the police, Elizabeth. All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want. [Elizabeth] Aibileen, stop! You a godless woman. Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired? Aibileen, you have to go now.
Don’t go, Aibee. Baby, you need to get back to bed. Please don’t leave. I gots to, baby. I am so sorry. Are you going to take care of another little girl? 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. – No! Baby. Baby. I need you to remember everything I told you, OK? – OK. – You remember what I told you? You is kind. You is smart. You is important. That’s right, Baby Girl.
Don’t go, Aibee. I gots to, baby. You give my sweet girl a chance. [Aibileen] Mae Mobley was my last baby. In just ten minutes, the only life I knew was done. [screaming] Aibee! [Mae Mobley screaming] God says we need to love our enemies.
[Mae Mobley] No! It hard to do. But it can start by telling the truth. No one had ever asked me what it felt like to be me. Once I told the truth about that.
.. …I felt free. And I got to thinking about all the people I know. And the things I seen and done. My boy, Treelore, always said we gonna have a writer in the family one day.
I guess it’s gonna be me. [♪ Mary J. Blige: “The Living Proof”] ♪ It’s gonna be a long, long journey ♪ ♪ It’s gonna be an uphill climb ♪ ♪ It’s gonna be a tough fight ♪ ♪ It’s gonna be some lonely nights ♪ ♪ But I’m ready ♪ ♪ To carry on ♪ ♪ I’m so glad the worst is over ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it almost took me out ♪ ♪ I can start living now ♪ ♪ Whoo, I feel like I can do anything ♪ ♪ And finally I’m not afraid to breathe ♪ ♪ Anything you say to me ♪ ♪ And everything you do ♪ ♪ You can’t deny the truth ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ So many don’t survive ♪ ♪ They just don’t make it through ♪ ♪ But look at me Ohhh ♪ ♪ I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ Oh, yes, I am ♪ ♪ Thinking about life’s been painful ♪ ♪ Yes, it was ♪ ♪ Took awhile to learn how to smile ♪ ♪ So now I’m gonna talk to my people ♪ ♪ About the storm ♪ ♪ About the storm ♪ ♪ Whoa ♪ ♪ So glad the worst is over ♪ ♪ ‘Cause it’s all beneath me now ♪ ♪ I can start flying now ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ My best days are right in front of me ♪ ♪ Yeah, and I’m almost there ♪ ♪ ‘Cause now I’m free ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ Anything you say to me ♪ ♪ And everything you do ♪ ♪ You can’t deny the truth ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ So many don’t survive ♪ ♪ They just don’t make it through ♪ ♪ But look at me ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ I know where I’m going ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I know where I’ve been ♪ ♪ Oh ♪ ♪ I’m gonna feel stars that showing ♪ – ♪ Hey ♪ – ♪ I’ma stay strong ♪ ♪ Keep growing ♪ ♪ That’s the way that I will ♪ ♪ Hey ♪ ♪ Anything you say to me ♪ – ♪ And everything you do ♪ – ♪ Everything you do ♪ ♪ You can’t deny the truth ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ So many don’t survive ♪ ♪ They just don’t make it through ♪ – ♪ But look at me ♪ – ♪ Look at me ♪ ♪ Yeah, yeah ♪ ♪ I’m the living proof ♪ ♪ Nothing ’bout my life’s been easy ♪ ♪ No, no ♪ ♪ But nothing’s gonna keep me down ♪ ♪ No, down, no ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I know a lot more today ♪ ♪ Than I knew yesterday ♪ ♪ So I’m ready ♪ ♪ To carry on ♪ ♪ Oh, Lordy ♪ [vocalizing] [vocalizing] [♪ Mavis Staples: “Don’t Knock”] ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ Don’t knock, just walk on in ♪ – ♪ The door ♪ – ♪ The door into heaven’s den ♪ – ♪ There’s love ♪ – ♪ There’s love and joy for you ♪ – ♪ To share ♪ – ♪ To share the whole day through ♪ – ♪ I know ♪ – ♪ I know my friends are there ♪ – ♪ To rest ♪ – ♪ To rest in heaven’s nest ♪ ♪ Don’t knock, ring, push or hold ♪ ♪ The door’s wide open a’waitin’ for your soul ♪ ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ You just walk on in ♪ ♪ I’ve walked life’s winding road ♪ – ♪ Oh, yeah ♪ – ♪ Tryin’ to rid this load ♪ ♪ Oh, yeah ♪ – ♪ Travel both night and day ♪ – ♪ Oh, yeah ♪ – ♪ So tired could hardly pray ♪ – ♪ Yeah ♪ – ♪ Jesus, my light, my guide ♪ – ♪ Oh, yeah ♪ – ♪ Ever by my side ♪ – ♪ Oh, yeah ♪ ♪ So I’m walkin’, not knockin’ into heaven ♪ ♪ With pride ♪ – ♪ Oh ♪ – ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ Don’t knock, just walk on in ♪ – ♪ The door ♪ – ♪ The door to heaven’s den ♪ – ♪ There’s love ♪ – ♪ There’s love and joy for you ♪ – ♪ To share ♪ – ♪ To share the whole day through ♪ ♪ I know my friends are there ♪ – ♪ To rest ♪ – ♪ To rest in heaven’s nest ♪ ♪ You don’t knock, ring, push or hold ♪ ♪ The door’s wide open a’waitin’ for your soul ♪ ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ You just walk on in ♪ – ♪ Whoa ♪ – ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ Don’t knock, just walk on in ♪ – ♪ The door ♪ – ♪ The door to heaven’s den ♪ – ♪ There’s love ♪ – ♪ There’s love and joy for you ♪ – ♪ To share ♪ – ♪ To share the whole day through ♪ – ♪ I know ♪ – ♪ I know my friends are there ♪ – ♪ To rest ♪ – ♪ To rest in heaven’s nest ♪ ♪ You don’t knock, ring, push or hold ♪ ♪ The door’s wide open a’waitin’ for your soul ♪ ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ You just walk on in ♪ ♪ You don’t knock ♪ ♪ You just walk on in ♪