The mythological Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium but debutant Malayalam film director Mathukutty Xavier's Helen played by Anna Ben is all set to make thousands of movie-goers her staunch fans in the coming days.
We don't know whether the director named his movie after the mythological character with a definite reason or just a coincidence. However, this Helen is a simple, sweet girl facing tough situations with a smile unlike the 'complicated' Helen of Troy.
The film is based on a particular incident in Helen's life. The narrative begins with a few photographs of Helen's childhood and the camera zooms around an ant. We get to see things through the eyes of an ant, which goes around the house till it falls into some water kept in a refrigerator.
Helen has completed her BSc nursing course and is studying for IELTS exam so that she can get a job in Canada. She also does a part-time job at a fast food hub in a shopping mall to support her father (played by Lal) financially. Her father is not happy about the idea of she going abroad and wants her to be with him. As we are let into Helen's busy world, we come to know that she is in a relationship with Azhar (Noble Thomas). The father comes to know about the affair and he stops talking to her. The first half takes its own time to set the pace and get into the detailing. The interval comes with a bang when Helen gets trapped inside a freezer.
The storytelling is easygoing and naturalistic. Some thrilling moments in the film make us believe that the director is definitely here to stay. His script, along with Alfred Joseph and Noble Thomas, doesn't lag anywhere and the realistic dialogues and situations are engaging.
Anna Ben is a perfect fit as Helen. Even though a few scenes remind us of Amala Paul-starrer Aadai, Anna Ben leaves a mark in the movie.
Actor-director Lal plays well the role of an endearing and loving father. The father-daughter relation is portrayed so well that the audience will fall in love with them.
Noble makes his acting debut as Helen's lover and justifies his role in every aspect. Aju Varghese's negative role as a cop is impressive.
Editing and music deserve special mention. Shameer Muhammed's crisp editing and Anand C Chandran's cinematography helped develop this heart-warming tale of survival.
As the text in the end suggested, Helen seems to be inspired by a real-life incident. When all things go wrong, it definitely takes some courage to keep smiling. People will leave the theatres with a smile after watching this movie.