Minnie’s Chocolate Pie
As a movie lover, I always want to watch a good and recommended movie especially the one who get award and nomination. A true story film is my number one list.
I am an awards-show addict, and when I heard that The Help received several nominations—not just from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but also from the more respectable Screen Actors Guild, I always keep in my mind that I have to watch this film someday.
Well, the fact is… until now, I never had the chance to see the film! So today, I decide to go to You Tube so find out more about this film and watch some part of this film. I have no clue at all on how this short part of the film presented.
Now I would like to choose a different way to watch and understand a movie. First, I would like watch the sequence of this film silently by switching off the volume of my laptop in order to examine and sharpen my understanding of the non-verbal communication. After that, I would like to see the sequence of the movie again with the volume on to find out whether my judgment of the characters, their relationship and the feeling they presented in the movie-with or without the volume on-are confirmed. Then I clicked on a sequence title from the movie The Help that drew my interest most (I guess because it sounds so yummy): Minnie’s Chocolate Pie.
With no dialogue, no any single words and no music at the background as the clue, I tried to interpret what was happening in this sequence. First, I saw an African-American woman is talking with a white woman. From the facial expression, I guess that they were friends, because they were sitting together face to face on a dining room. From their facial expression, they seemed having a serious conversation. The African American woman seemed to tell about something to her friend but her facial expression reflected that she was not happy-maybe sad, disappointed or angry about something. Moreover, her friend was listening carefully while she was talking.
Since there is no voice at all, of course I do not know what their names are and what they were talking about. I guess the African American woman tried to tell her friend about her experience that happened to her in the past. From the way the people dress up in this movie, I guess the movie took place in past, maybe around 1960.
The movie then presented the part that the African American woman looked younger. She went to somebody’s house – fancy and beautifully decorated house-and bringing a chocolate pie to give to a white woman who dressed up very well and glamorous. Looking at her house and her appearance, I guess she was rich a white woman. The African American woman then gave the chocolate pie to the white woman, and she tasted it. From both of the women’s facial expression, it reflected that the taste of the pie must be very delicious and yummy.
Among their conversation, suddenly their facial expressions were change. I did not know what they were talking about, they looked angry and not satisfied to each other-but the white woman was keeping on eating the pie. I guess they were talking about the pie. Suddenly the white woman handed a piece of pie to the African American woman rudely –almost throwing-that made her very angry. It indicated that the white woman had power and conveyed dominance between them. The African American woman’s facial expression reflected that she was very angry and said something to the white woman that made her so shocked, stop eating the pie with her jaw opened. Still in angry face, they had another one or two conversation until the white woman looked so pale and close her mouth with her hands, running to another room. I guess she wanted to throw up…
Once again, I watched the movie with the volume on to find out whether my perception, judgment and understanding of the movie with the absence of the verbal conversation would be as comprehensive as if the movie was presenting with the verbal language. Moreover, yes indeed, it is very different perception!
With the presence of the verbal language, I began to understand the sequence of story in the movie in more details. Now I know that the African American woman’s name was Minnie and she was asked to tell her story in past when she was working as a maid. So she told one of her experience when she was giving the chocolate pie to the white woman, Ms. Hilly (probably her employer) that treated her not in respect, verbally and non-verbally. As the response, Minnie said something back to the Ms. Hilly about the pie that made her shock. What Minnie said made me thought that she put a “secret ingredient” to the pie that made Ms. Hilly shocked. Minnie said “Eat my sh**!” It was a very disgusting ingredient of the pie course- (so I do not want to mention it here!). If you want to know more, better to watch this film yourself 🙂 !
From my short experiment to watch the movie with or without the verbal language made realize how important to understand the verbal language as well as the non-verbal language. They complement each other and cannot be separated. According to O’Hair and Wiemann (2012) non verbal-communication such as gestures and body movement, facial expressions, eye behavior, voice tone, physical appearance as well as space and environment often serves to clarify meaning by reinforcing verbal messages. Non-verbal cues can also be used for substituting or replacing words. This understanding of the non-verbal language is especially important when we were interacting and communicating with the children as well because of their lack of verbal language to communicate with the people around them.
From now on, I need to be aware of my responses when I communicate to the people around me. I need to hear not just what they say verbally in language, but I need to be sensitive as well to interpret what the people around me try to say to me with their non-verbal language. I need to be aware of my own verbal and non-verbal response to the people around me as well so it would not bring harm to them. I believe it will deepen my understanding toward them, at the end; it will create an effective communication with the people around me.
Talking about Minnie’s chocolate pie, now I really wanted to try the recipe to make with my daughter and son in our kitchen. They really love baking…. and Minnie’s chocolate pie was a great idea to try…….. minus the “secret ingredients” of course!
Brunei Darussalam, May, 2013
O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2012). Real communication: An introduction. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. Chapter 5, “Nonverbal Communication”
The Help – Minny’s Chocolate Pie. A sequence of the film The Help. Retrieved from You Tube.