Overly simplified. The “bad” white woman and “good” white woman characters are almost more stereotyped than the black women. The starting framing of Skeeter and Hilly looked like it had far more potential; what do you do when your whole society, your best friend, your whole structure is racist. In the end, it just ended up being a dumb portrayal of “only morally deficit people are racist”, which makes for a simpler, cleaner storytelling path but not much about racism and class/economic slavery linked to race persisting in the US.
Shadowy male figures in the background casually perpetuating violence upon women of all races. Unchallenged through the course of the film; white women trying to please casually racist men become more violently racist than the men. Black women trying to keep their families alive and find better futures for their kids, locked into domestic slavery under white women by the demands and general uselessness of alcoholic black men stereotypes.
Overall, the simplification was just as depressing as the content. There were glimmers of interest in a few statements/connections. “My momma was a maid. My Grandmother was a house slave.” And we are shown how Aibileen’s generation’s children become university students, lawyers, doctors, presidents.
For a movie about such a teetering cusp era in US history, the story and storytelling felt like it was still locked in the 50s.