Director Tate Taylor leverages the dual visual and audio capabilities of the film medium to portray the real spirit of the movie adaption of the book The Help. As in the book, the film is set in the deep south (Mississippi) of the 1960s as the Civil Rights movement is beginning to make its impact on the American scene. To the dismay of her friends, family and boyfriend, Skeeter embarks on a project to interview "the help" who have cared for prominent southern families over the years.
In visual terms, Taylor sets the scene by providing a glimpse into Aibileen's small tidy home. Early on, the movie audience sees Aibileen, played by Viola Davis, in the kitchen washing dishes at the sink. The audience immediately gets the sense of her daily life by seeing the small, neat, but simple kitchen and her domestic, fairly-mundane actions.
The camera pans to two pictures that hang on the wall above her. Their placement there, where she likely spends much of her every day time attending to her mundane routine, alerts the audience to the importance of the two figures seen in the pictures. One picture is of Jesus and the other is a photo of an unknown young black boy. The screen directions says that "Aibileen swallows hard," which also gives the audience a sense of her deeply inner contemplative nature, as well as the pain that she must have suffered over the years. Then she begins to narrate her story for the audience.
Taylor also chose to switch the narration of the book, which essentially told the story from the view point of several women, to allowing the Viola Davis character to be the main voice of the underlying message. In this way, Taylor is able to better portray the emotions behind the story; switching between multiple voices might have diluted the intensity of the women's feelings via a film adaption whereas it did not in the book.
Another technique that Taylor uses is to show the conflict between Hilly and Minny through their dialogue, as well as the visual in the aftermath of Minny's "gift" to Hilly.
Taylor also uses music effectively to create the emotions. The movie's soundtrack includes several gospel songs, as well as popular country and southern songs from the period. Singers include Ray Charles, Chubby Checkers and Johnny Cash.