If you’ve seen The Help, you already know that you is kind, you is smart, and you is important. And you have Viola Davis to thank for that affirmation. Well, sorry but she’d like to take it back. According to Variety, Viola told a TIFF panel that she regrets having taken the role of Aibileen Clark in the movie adaptation of the Kathryn Stockett novel of the same name. Welcome to the The Help is garbage club, Viola!
While Viola was careful to say she loved everybody she worked with on the film, and that she had an overall positive experience, it was the film’s white centered point of view that made her uneasy about playing a woman who has to raise other women’s children for a living, yet isn’t allowed an opportunity to express what that was like for her.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”
I’m sure Viola read the book before he took that role and knew exactly what kind of bullshit The Help was on. She probably had to do some real complicated Hidden Figures type mental calculations before deciding it was worth it. The role did earn her an Oscar nomination, after all.
And man, some people really love that movie! Viola’s probably going to get a lot of shit for shitting on it because it might make lovers of The Help feel bad about how much, or why, they love it. Plus she sure did cash that check. But, at the time, Oscar bait like The Help and roles for grown ass black women were scarcer than hen’s teeth. Now that Viola’s an Academy Award winning superstar, she can be a little more picky about the roles she chooses. Don’t look for Viola to be starring The Help 2: Can I Get You Another Slice? Scarlett Johansson can go ahead and play Aibileen in that one.