Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why Red Tails Is Everything The Help Tried To Be, But Isn't

Yesterday,  my  Dad  and  I  saw  the movie  Red  Tails.  It  was  awesome!
It  takes  place  near  the  end  of  WWII  mainly  in  Italy,  following  the  lives  of  black  pilots.  It  is  an  action/war  film,  fairly  new.  It,  like  The  Help,  tackles  racism  towards  blacks  in  America.
What  do  both  movies  try  to  be?  Both  movies  want  to  teach  us  about  history,  that  racism  is  wrong,  that  we  should  be  accepting  to  others,  and  to  fictionally  portray  what  the  lives  of  blacks  were  like  those  many  years  ago.  
Why  does  The  Help  fail  at  this?  The  Help  has  a  righteous  white.  The  main  character  is  white  and  she  is  the  one  who  starts  fighting  racism  in  her  small  town,  making  big  changes,  because  blacks  need  a  white  girl  to  help  them.  Yeah,  those  poor  blacks  can't  help  themselves.  It's  one  thing  to  be  an  ally  against  racism  while  being  white,  like  the  whites  who  attended  the  "I  Have  A  Dream"  speech,  who  spoke  against  racism,  who  helped  blacks.  It  was  another  thing  to make  it  where  the  whites  did  all  the  good  things,  making  The  Help  feel-good-white-shit.  In  Red  Tails  there  were  some  good  whites,  mainly  bad  whites,  but  never  a  righteous  white.  The  blacks  also  did  as  much as  they  could  for  themselves.
Also,  both  seem  like  one  is  for  women  and  the  other  is  for  men.  The  truth  is,  both  genders  commonly  went  to  see  both  movies.  Also,  just  because  one  is  aimed  supposedly  at  men,  the  other  at  women,  it  still  doesn't  excuse  having  a  righteous  white.  The  Help  had  so  much  opportunity  and  failed.  You  can't  say  "Well  this  movie  was  more  for  women,  so  blah  blah  blah."  No,  there  is  no  excuse.

OK,  that's  pretty  much  the  whole  point  of  this  post,  but  I'll  point  out  a  few  more  things:
-It  was  really  funny  at  times.
-It  had  some  really  heart  wrenching  scenes  (spoiler:  like  when  Lucky  died  at  the  end).
-It  had  an  black/Italian  couple  (seriously,  this  is  the  first  movie  I've  ever  seen  having  that).  Plus  the  Lucky/Sophia  storyline  was  very  well  thought  out,  you  knew  they  actually  cared  about  each  other.  They  may  have  both  spoken  different  languages,  but  that  added  to  their  feelings.
-It  had  action,  enough  said.

Gah,  I've  also  recently  been  wanting  to  watch  the  movie  Bamboozled,  but  my  library  doesn't  have  it.  Maybe  this  movie  makes  me  want  to  watch  a  million  others  on  race.
Side  Note:  My  mother,  sister,  and  aunt  are  all  big  fans  of  The  Help,  while  I'm  not.  I  don't  understand  why  more  people  aren't  seeing  the  book/movie  as  wrong.


  1. If it makes you feel any better, I see "The Help" as a total literary fail. Last time I checked black people fought for civil rights, not because white people let them and helped out, but by their own initiative and in the face of widespread white resistance.

    I'm not particularly into super-patriotic war movies, and at first I was worried that Red Tails would just be propaganda. ("See, black people have it great in the U.S!") But then I read an article in the NYT about how Lucas faced, again, widespread white resistance to this film because it wasn't about hip-hope and other things black boys apparently like. He financed the entire project himself (which indicates how loaded he is--jealous!)I'm not sure if it's going to work, but I know that several black directors are really excited about the movie. I think I'm going to watch this movie--even if I'm not a black male teenager-- because I really want to see how this is going to turn out. I think I'm going to keep from judging until I've seen the movie, and then I'm going to write a review.

    Here's the link to the article, if you're interested.

  2. You make a great point on The Help, making it a mo wonder why I'm not getting near the book or movie.
    It's far from propaganda, it truly does give you a picture of racism at the time, while still having funny moments. I feel bad George Lucas had to pay for the entire movie himself, but it does make you realize the cash this guy has.
    Hey, if you don't like the movie, it's OK, though I do recommend it. Thanks. :)

    Politicians at Hogwarts? :D The mental image I'm having is Newt Gingrich (hate him) wearing a wizarding uniform. Oh my gosh, there needs to be a Photoshopped image of that! XD