My Thanksgiving has been un-food related so far, unless you count the grocery shopping for Saturday's feast when my family will be celebrating our own version of Thanksgiving (which as usual involves having lots of friends over). It's hard to do a full-blown turkey dinner when it's not a holiday and you have to consider people's work schedules and general fatigue. So while we're outside of the US, Saturday it is!
My sister flew in from England this morning to join us for the holiday, and after lunch we kidnapped our dad for our own father-daughter holiday tradition (any holiday will do): going to the movies! The selection was a bit limited, but I managed to twist their arms a bit and get them to agree to seeing "Criadas y Señoras" a.k.a. The Help. I felt that at the very least, it being an American holiday and all, we could go see a movie depicting life in the US in the not-so-distant past. I think the fact that it was an earlier show than our other option probably weighed more in my favour... but they were glad in the end!
All three of us (my sister, my dad and myself) really enjoyed this movie, although my dad did say that in a way it was a bit depressing. I found it to be disturbing... the society it depicted, the people's mentality, their ignorance... Although intellectually I know about all this (racism, social differences, sexism, education etc.) having studied it in school, observed it in other films, emotionally it still feels like a punch in the gut. How could people seriously think and behave like this? And I'm not just talking about the treatment of the black servants, but those suburban women so disconnected from reality were just as scary to me! Separate restrooms because of disease transmission? Seriously???
For any who haven't seen it (came out in the US in August, should be out there on dvd soon), it's the story of Skeeter, a young white woman who comes home from college back to Jackson Mississippi with dreams of becoming a writer (while all her mother wants for her is a husband and kids) and who wakes up to the realisation of how people in her social circle treat "the help", particularly the black maids who raise their children (and raised them as well!). She decides to write a book about these maids' lives from their own point of view and manages to convince two of them to share their war stories with her, in spite of their fear of possible repercussions. We're in the early 1960s, beginning of the Civil Rights movement, and those involved are terrified of what could happen to them (at the hands of the KKK and others) if they were known to be participating in this project. It's both a horrifying, moving, poignant and at times funny tale with some wonderful women brought to life by some amazing actresses, particularly Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer who play Aibileen and Minny. And any scene Minny is in is unforgettable!
On this Thanksgiving Day I am very grateful that society has changed so much, that the world depicted in this film feels so alien to me that I barely recognise it, and that there were men and women brave enough to stand up and help bring about an end to this discrimination.
I hope all of you who are celebrating the holiday have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! :o)