A LITTLE HELP


 The title of this film is a bit of a misnomer; it should be, “We Need a Lotta Help!”  The story is about a woman who is the younger sister in her family and regarded as someone who never measures up to her efficient older sister.  She has bought into this myth—understandably—and the film is about her coming to terms with her own competencies and, hence, her responsibilities.  I make a joke about the title because the woman’s family as a whole is so dysfunctional.  It is heartbreaking to see how they cannot communicate effectively, primarily because no one listens to or respects the other.  There is no negotiation in disagreements—only yelling that escalates the problem.  Everyone has advice that no one follows, except under duress, and in those cases, the judgment is often wrong.

 I was struck by the incompetence in parenting across two generations, although blessedly, there is also love, which seems to go a long way in over-riding ineptness and poor judgment.  To some extent, this probably reflects an approximate picture of our current society, and the fact that kids somehow muddle through.  They’re able to take the best from each parent, and make something of themselves.  

 Despite what I have just said, however, I think this is a good movie, and expect that most people will recognize some of the characters and their interactions from their own family lives.  The best part of the film is that we see people change; they contemplate their mistakes and seem to learn from them.  For instance, the main character who was oblivious to someone’s asking her help years earlier just to pick up a stray tennis ball, says at one point, “I wish I had picked up your tennis ball when you said, ‘A little help?’”


Grade:  B  By:  Donna R. Copeland