It has its heart in the right place. It has a great cast. It will get nominated for lots of awards.

It’s an entertaining film, but very flawed.

It’s the story of black maids in Mississippi in the ‘60s, working for rich white families that treat them poorly.

One of my pet peeves in movies is when things are over the top. For example, as powerful as the scene in Saving Private Ryan is when they storm the beach of Normandy, we didn’t need to see every imaginable way a soldier could die. Less is sometimes more, and had Spielberg just shown us a few of those deaths, with the hail of gunfire, it would’ve been more effective.

I can imagine Jackson, Mississippi not being the best place for blacks to live. I just don’t know why you need every white person being violent or using racial epithets. And if they were, are they really doing it right to the maids faces?

There were other times I felt the opposite, and that racial themes that would’ve been around during that time were sugar-coated.

I liked a few of the subplots, but some were awful.

We’re supposed to be so shocked that Bryce Dallas Howard would do a fundraiser for African children, yet she’s horrible to her black maid.

We’re also supposed to believe that a “typo” in a newsletter causes everybody in town to leave toilets on her front lawn. So, she didn’t see the typo before it was released? And, folks in town just have extra toilets they’ll leave on your lawn at 5 a.m.?

Howard had a better performance in the Clint Eastwood movie Hereafter (which I didn’t like). That character had some great subtle moments and more range.

In this, she has this insane smile every second she’s on the screen.

And are we really supposed to believe she’d scarf down a pie, while equally praising it and putting down the maid that cooked it?

Oh, and if the idea of an angry waiter spitting in your food freaks you out, you might want to close your eyes for the pie scene.

Howard will get an Oscar nomination. In fact, so will others in the cast. The only one that deserves it is Viola Davis, who was so good in Doubt.

When she recounts her life story to Stone, I couldn’t stop the tears. And the way she says it, with sadness and just a touch of anger. It was a perfectly done character.

Octavia Spence was fun as Minny the maid (no Cab Calloway reference intended).

Now, the other characters I had problems with.

--Mary Steenburgen as the liberal, tough Jewish book publisher, didn’t work for me. Rent The Long Walk Home, which Steenburgen narrates (also with Sissy Spacek). It’s a great movie from the late ‘80s about the Montgomery bus boycott in the mid-50s.

--Emma Stone was miscast.