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16 Movies like the help


16 Movies like “The Help”

Movies like The Help have significantly impacted our understanding of racial inequality and how most of us contribute to it, knowingly or not.

These movies allow us to understand the civil rights landscape besides racial discrimination, especially during the Jim Crow era and post-World War II.

This article brings you eye-opening titles about civil rights, which might make you sad, but the accurately-timed satire will definitely balance the equation.

A Quick Overview: The Help

The Help, adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s book, is a light-hearted take on a serious topic in the Jim Crow era. It is the story of the tension between African-American maids and their white employers.

Here’s a quick overview:

Eugenia Skeeter returns from college to pursue her career as a writer and interviews black women working as nannies for white people. The women share the treatment and casual insults they received during their employment. Eugena publishes a book, “The Help,” that shares their story and eventually stirs society, offering hope for respect and dignity for everyone.

The movie gained immense popularity among viewers and critics, and Viola Davis received her Oscar for the Best Actress award.

16 Movies Like The Help

If you have watched “The Help” and loved it, you will be happy to know there are multiple similar titles to watch.

Let’s get into it quickly!

1. Hidden Figures – 2016

The first name on our list of movies like The Help is a masterpiece that captivates you till the end, feeling like you’re a part of the setting.

Hidden Figures is a story that depicts the struggle of three African-American women who helped NASA’s space program succeed. It tells you how they navigate and strive to make a place in the white and male-dominated area.

Mary Jackson became NASA’s first black female engineer, Katherine Johnson calculated flight trajectories, whereas Dorothy Vaughan was NASA’s first African-American supervisor.

You will love every moment of the movie and how it beautifully explains their journey and the discrimination in the Jim Crow era. This movie captures everything women of color in our society fight against male domination, white privilege, and being thought incapable of working.

Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Kirsten Dunst, Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jim Parsons, and Mahershala Ali

Duration: 127 minutes

2. The Kids Are All Right – 2010

Movies such as The Kids Are Alright put the fun in dysfunctional, and if you come from such a family, the movie is not shy to make you shed a tear or two.

The movie is about a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules, with two teenage kids ready for college. The children, Joni and Laser, search for their biological father, who donated the sperm, and call him to meet. First surprised, the biological father, Paul, agrees to meet the siblings.

The movie is a roller coaster ride with beautiful family moments, maturity, growth, love, unfaithfulness, and much more. The cast fits their roles perfectly in this witty dramedy, making it even more entertaining.

Cast: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Annette Bening

Duration: 107 minutes

3. The Secret Life of Bees – 2008     

The Secret Life of Bees is another blockbuster you will love if you appreciate movies on civil rights discrimination and racial unrest.

Don’t let the title fool you, as the movie is a lot more than being about bees!

Based on the 2001 book, “The Secret Life of Bees” takes you to 1964 in South Carolina, where a teenage girl Lily Owens lives with her caretaker, Rosaleen. As life takes on, they find themselves in the town her mother grew up in, and Lily understands the true meaning of love from people around her.

Furthermore, she develops an interest in beekeeping, leading to meaningful conversations between her and the veteran beekeeper, August Boatright. August shares life lessons with Lily that she calls “Bee etiquette.”

The movie also subtly shows what Rosaleen has to face as an African-American at the hands of racist men.

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okondo, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, and Tristan Wilds

Duration: 114 minutes

4. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – 2008

The next one on our list of movies, like The Help, is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which deviates from the racial aspects.

You might have seen various movies based on the Holocaust, but The Boy in the Pyjamas brings you a heartbreaking story of two kids; the son of a Nazi commandant (Bruno) becomes friends with a Jewish kid in his father’s concentration camp out of boredom.

The movie is loaded with emotions. You also see World War II through Bruno’s eyes and how the story unfolds with him, his sister, and the Jewish boy. The first half might not seem very moving, yet the second half will have you in tears – so keep a box of tissues beside you.

Cast: László Áron, Amber Beattie, Attila Egyed, Asa Butterfield, and Vera Farmiga

Duration: 94 minutes

5. Green Book – 2019

The Green Book is a comedy-drama starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen; it focuses on the story of an African-American pianist and an Italian-American bouncer.

Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Al) eventually becomes Tony Vallelonga’s (previously the bouncer) boss, and they take a road trip together. Both realize they must change their behavior and attitude toward each other to survive the eight-week journey.

The film shows how race and class sometimes interfere in friendships, and you must fight the norms. The movie covers a serious topic in a fun and humorous way to ensure you do not cry.

We won’t share spoilers about the movie, so you can enjoy every bit of it when you watch it!

Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, and Mike Hatton

Duration: 130 minutes

6. The Visitor – 2007

The Visitor takes you through a beautiful journey of an American professor and a Middle-Eastern couple who accidentally have to live in the same apartment.

Walter Vale is a professor of economics in Connecticut who goes to New York to attend a conference, only to find a couple living in his apartment. While Walter has a closed heart, he opens up eventually, allowing the couple to live in the apartment, despite his initial reluctance.

As the story unfolds, the immigrant couple realizes they are illegal and cannot live in the country. Despite not appreciating sharing the apartment with the couple initially, Walter does everything he can to help them.

The movie shows how friendship, love, and music can help you open up and spark unexpected friendships.

Watch the movie yourself to immerse in a perfect display of natural acting with a story that touches the soul.

Cast: Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbass, Haaz Sleiman, and Danai Gurira

Duration: 86 minutes

7. The Color Purple – 1985

While you will love this movie’s setting and direction, don’t say we didn’t warn you that it covers multiple harrowing twentieth-century dilemmas.

This 1985 movie is based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, which shows forty years of a black woman, Celie’s, life. It takes you through a gut-wrenching journey of injustice and pain – Celie being raped at fourteen, her marriage to a widower with four small children, and much more.

The story revolves around family, love, oppression, unemployment, child abuse, racism, domestic abuse, and sexual assault. The movie received immense praise for the story and topics it brought to the screen.

Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Adolph Caesar, Akosua Busia, Rae Dawn Chong, and Willard Pugh

Duration: 152 minutes

8. The Blind Side – 2009

The Blind Side is a biographical drama based on the life of Michael Oher, an American-African NFL player.

The movie covers Michael’s story, from his adoption by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy to his career as a football player. It shows Michael’s preservation throughout fighting racism while Leigh Anne offers him continuous support to follow his dream.

The Baltimore Ravens picked Michael Oher in the initial round of the NFL 2009 Draft Pick due to Michael and his mother’s constant struggle.

The Blind Side was a soaring success and earned 100x a budget of $29 million.

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Tim McGraw, Lily Collins, and Kathy Bates

Duration: 126 minutes

9. The Butler – 2013

As the name indicates, The Butler is about a black butler, not “just any butler.”

The movie depicts the life of Eugene Allen, the longest-serving black butler in the White House. The film addresses Eugene as Cecil to offer more creative leeway. The Butler begins with Cecil’s father’s murder and covers his relationship with his son.

This absorbing movie takes you through Cecil’s experience in the White House with numerous positive dramatic points. Oprah Winfrey playing Cecil’s wife is another larger-than-life character you will fall in love with; who can doubt Oprah’s impressive acting anyway!

This movie is a must-watch for anyone looking for something about living in a white-dominated society as a black resident – you’ll love it!

Cast: Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, Oprah Winfrey, and David Oyelowo

Duration: 126 minutes

10. Lincoln – 2012

What’s better than the legendary Abraham Lincoln’s life when it comes to movies like The Help?

This brilliant piece of art gives you a sneak peek into the unmatched and courageous leadership of Abraham Lincoln during racial enmity. Abraham Lincoln was the United States President in 1965.

The movie covers the last four months of Lincoln’s life as the president of the United States.

He expects the Civil War to end soon and worries about free people being enslaved. Lincoln fights on multiple fronts, managing his personal life alongside his profession.

Lincoln by Steven Spielberg is an interesting watch to understand Lincoln’s era and how the situation unfolds.

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Hal Holbrook

Duration: 150 minutes

11. I am Not Your Negro – 2016

Raoul Peck-directed I am not your Negro, is an inspiring documentary on the legacy of an African-American activist and writer.

The documentary, focusing on racial and economic injustice, is one-of-its-kind, showing the troubling signs of racial hatred in the second half of the twentieth century.

The movie is broadly based on the writer and activist James Baldwin, who lived in Paris and London to escape racism in the US.

He was working on a book called Remember This House detailing successive assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers. However, James could only write 30 pages before leaving us all.

Raoul Peck crafted this movie from James’ letters, essays, and film commentary as a tribute to him.

This documentary is the perfect choice in movies like The Help to understand James Baldwin’s courageous life in a simple, self-explanatory manner.

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Samuel L. Jackson, Louise Platt, Joey Starr, Rodney King, Tony Kurtis, and Jon Wayne

Duration: 95 minutes

12. Loving – 2016

Loving, directed by Jeff Nicholas, is based on the documentary The Loving Story by Nancy Buirski. Nancy’s documentary showcased a case that legalized interracial marriages in 1967.

Virginia’s Richard and Mildred Loving fought against Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws to legalize interracial marriages.

Richard Loving, a white man, married a Native American black woman, Mildred, in Washington, D. C. When they returned to their house in Virginia, the local sheriff disapproved of their wedding in light of Virginian laws.

Mr. and Mrs. Loving had to fight their case with the help of two lawyers, and they paved the path for hundreds of interracial marriages to come.

Watch this movie to experience how challenging it was to marry someone from a different race in the mid-twentieth century – it’s worth every second!

Cast: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Terri Abney, Dean Mumford, Alano Miller, and Bill Camp

Duration: 123 minutes

13. Belle – 2013

Belle is a treat for anyone who loves Victorian-era sophistication and beautiful sets. The movie covers everything from racism, slavery, and class to love and idealism.

Belle brings you the real story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate child of the British Naval Commander Sir John Lindsay.

Sir John takes Elizabeth to his wealthy Uncle Lord Mansfield’s house, where she is regarded as nothing more than a servant. Elizabeth continuously had to bear her relatives’ prejudice and racial remarks in the house.

Belle is a heart-wrenching tale and makes you wonder how these people could be cruel to Elizabeth and hate her so much. Be ready to shed a few tears.

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, and Emily Watson

Duration: 91 minutes

14. 12 Years a Slave – 2013

12 Years a Slave is an adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoir “Twelve Years a Slave” published in 1853.

This movie is based on the real account of a liberated man of color named Solomon Northup, who lives in New York and is kidnapped. Later, Soloman was forced into slavery.

It is a brilliant display of Solomon’s journey fighting for his life and dignity post-kidnapping. His life changes as he meets a Canadian activist in his twelfth year.

It’s brilliant how Steve McQueen has depicted oppression and racial injustice in the black community. This movie touched hearts and made people think about how we inflict injustice on our fellow humans.

It won’t be wrong to say that 12 Years a Slave was the best film of 2013.

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, and Paul Dano

Duration: 134 minutes

15. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman – 1974

John Korty’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman pays homage to freedom by celebrating the human spirit.

This classical movie shows Jane Pittman celebrating her 100th birthday in 1962. She shares her life story as a slave girl during the Civil War with the reporter Quentin Lerner.

She endures hardships and miseries throughout her life, fighting against the odds. Despite the circumstances, Jane finds a charm and grace that allows her to make the most of simple pleasures. Jane worked as a field hand over the years, eventually standing for her freedom in 1962.

Like The Help, this movie displays Jane’s resilience beautifully and how freedom takes a lifetime. Get ready to indulge in an exhibit of emotional brilliance.

Cast: Cicely Tyson, Rod Perry, Richard Dysart, Joel Fluellen, Eric Brown, Thalmus Rasulala, and Valeria Odell

Duration: 134 minutes

16. Harriet – 2019

How could we not mention Harriet in the tales of freedom and bravery?

The movie is set in 1849 when Minty is a 27-year-old slave who fears being sold and sent South. Thus, she embarks on the journey of freedom, ending up in Philadelphia 100 miles away. 

William Still, an abolitionist leader, receives her and invites her to pick her free name; Minty chooses Harriet Tubman.

Harriet does not only choose freedom for herself but goes back to Maryland as a charismatic leader to rescue others. When her family chooses to stay back, she guides another family to the North so they can have a free life.

Harriet is a story of resilience, courage, and the determination to be free. It shows you the fire ignited in many people serving as slaves who want to live a free life like Harriet.

Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, H. Hunter Hall, and Deborah Ayorinde

Duration: 125 minutes

Other Movies like The Help

Here are a few other titles you can check if you like “The Help” and other movies from the list above:

  • Mudbound – 2017
  • Fences – 2016
  • Driving miss daisy – 1989
  • Pride – 2014
  • Selma – 2015
  • Remember the Titans – 2000
  • Sin Nombre – 2009
  • Freedom Song – 2000
  • Precious – 2009
  • Jane Eyre – 2011
  • All the way – 2016
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – 2020
  • The long walk home – 1991
  • Shéhérazade – 2019
  • 42 – 2013

Pick Your Favorite!

All these movies like The Help tell the stories of heroes who stood up against racial discrimination. Whether it meant breaking walls in the way of interracial marriages, fighting society for their color, or running away from slavery – these stories show perseverance, courage, and the will to be free.

So, have you found your next watch? Let us know!

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