Helen Review & Rating
Helen Review: Smile In The Face Of Survival Test
Remember Pihu, the beleaguered Bollywood film about the survival of a two-year-old kid inside her house. Not knowing that her mother was dead. She just thinks that her mamma’s sleeping and not answering her. And her father was out on a business meeting. And her parents had a terrible argument the night before. A child. Trapped inside her own house. With none watching over her.
Helen and her world
Enter Helen! A young girl gets trapped inside a freezer. Reason? Moral policing. A small incident leads to the fight for survival for a girl. A small bug of thought inside the mind of a buggy cop. What happened actually? She did no wrong. It was just her love for a man of her choice. But people who have no love for their life always look outside and when encounter pure love, they cannot stand it. The policeman Ratheesh is one such.
Helen is like any ordinary girl who aspires to make her life better as she had seen numerous difficulties in her and her father’s life. They’re from a lower-middle-class family. Their income is never sufficient for a respectable living. And her mother suffers from a terminal illness. The girl has to study. Debts grow as education and medication are given proper care of by her father. Her mother dies but her father, Mr. Paul stands firm for her education. She completes nursing.
Then she aims to migrate to Canada for a better living. And to get a chance to clear off the debts. Understanding as she is, she goes for a part-time job while preparing for the IELTS examination. So that she can reduce the financial burden on her LIC Agent father. Currently, she’s in love with a youngster called Azhar. This has made that cop uncomfortable. He intends to inform her father of this affair. He calls in him. Understandably, Helen finds it tough to face her father. Not because he was not a loving and caring father. But because of the guilt-induced in her by the external force called Ratheesh.
She decides to stay back at the shop she works. Chicken Hub. That’s the name of the shop. How foreshadowing! Unfortunately for her, she gets trapped inside the freezer of the shop and what follows is her ordeal. Will she survive or not depends on the outlook of the filmmaker. But how she survives is a lesson for all of us. With a smile. She’s optimistic. And she’s pure.
Anna Ben is Helen - remember her name
Young actress Anna Ben is terrific in the role of Helen. She exceeded what’s expected of her with sensible and subtle nuances of her acting. She was helped by the characterisation of Helen. But she owned it. The way she moves. The way she breathes. The way she tries all means to survive. Everything is portrayed with a brutally great performance. And her smile is divine. The final image of the film remains with us for a long time.
Outside the claustrophobic environment of the freezer is her father in search of her. And Azhar who loves her. Senior artiste Lal is a great addition in the role of Mr. Paul. Nobel Babu Thomas as Azhar is competent. But he faltered at a few moments in dialogues. Aju Varghese as they loveless cop is brilliant. These are the three main players apart from Anna Ben’s Helen. The tension triangle created between these three first at the discovery of the affair between Azhar and Helen, then after discovering that Helen is missing. And then when she’s nearly dying.
Writing and direction
Helen is the Greek Queen who was said to be the most beautiful woman at that time. This Helen is aptly named. She is beautiful inside out. Her love for life is so strong that we feel for her with the might of our compassion for a fellow human being. The relationships between the major players are established early in the narration by Xavier Mathukutty. The writing of the film is strong. Every major character is author-backed and that can be seen by the way the actors performed.
Every little detail before the survival drama starts is used to create the right effect. There’s no hurry in the way the earlier narration panned out. We feel for the struggle of Mr. Paul. We want to give our lives to save Helen (at least for the time of watching). We want the cop to be punished for his sins. All because of the deft writing and strong performances.
The music has a minute detail which plays games of its own in the minds of the audience. The score is superb, to say the least. The cinematography is extraordinarily good. The editing is inch-perfect. The film though made on a shoestring budget is rich in production values.
Go. And. Watch. Helen. You’ll smile at the end. And love your life better. At least as long as this film haunts you. Just watch it.
- A deep and multi-layered narration which is so simple to understand
- Brilliant performance by Anna ben
- Excellent work by the support cast
- Strong writing
- Top-notch work by the crew
- Nobel Thomas falters in a few key moments (but this' just nitpicking)
Pycker Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa
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