Why Viola Davis Regrets Taking Her Role in The Help

Why Viola Davis Regrets Taking Her Role in The Help

It’s kind of hard to note that Viola Davis would have stepped away from making The Help if she’d had a second thought about it, despite the fact that the movie won her a few awards playing Aibileen Clark and was more or less a movie that was seeking to tell a story about people doing what they could to strike back against overt racism. In that case it feels as though nothing is ever quite enough and that movies that carry this kind of message, especially those with anyone white taking any type of lead, will be seen as less than capable of telling the full story. In other words, the stories of those folks that knew the very hard and uncaring touch of racism back in the day are apparently meant to be shown with white people acting as the devils that they’ve been portrayed as in history and in many other movies that put a negative spin on just about every white face that comes into view. Apparently unity isn’t what a lot of actors are looking to push. But then I could be wrong too since POC’s want to hear the stories of their ancestors told and they have every right to hear them from their own perspectives and from black voices and black directors. It’s a jumble of emotion that’s driving the hearts and minds of a lot of people at this time since the death of George Floyd and many others has everyone either on edge or looking to their neighbors demanding that something be done unless they’re POC.

What’s truly confusing about what Viola has to say is that the movie was meant to be about Aibileen and Minny, as they take up a good part of the story and find that there are decent white individuals that want to hear their story and to treat them like human beings rather than servants. But that apparently isn’t the narrative that Davis wanted to see, as it does sound as though she wanted the story to possibly omit the positive white influence that is typically seen as the ‘white savior’ when in truth a lot of times it’s a white person simply trying to be a decent human being. This same stereotype has been affixed to many movies, sometimes rightfully so and other times from a very biased position that doesn’t take into account the tenets of the story that’s being subjected to such criticism. Likely in The Help there were plenty of moments that might have been better had they been taken from a different perspective, but somehow, and this is odd to say since Viola was one of the stars, it almost feels as though she was too close to the matter to see it from any other perspective. The manner in which POC were treated back in those days was absolutely horrible by any standard, and while some would argue that POC’s are still treated that way today, the truth is that their elders might actually smack them upside the head or give them a piece of their mind for thinking that their lot in life is even close to the same as those that lived back then. Like it or not, believe it or not, but The Help did manage to open a lot of eyes from various perspectives and despite being in the movie it almost feels as though Viola missed that point. Like I said it’s awkward to say since she was there and lived it, but sometimes people are a little too close to the matter to see.

Without trying to be petty it does feel as though if she’d felt that strongly she might not have accepted the awards that the movie helped her to earn, though some might call that naive or even foolish since she did the job and should reap the rewards. But if she didn’t care for her role in the movie, if she didn’t take any pride in seeing it done, then why bother with the awards? That’s an argument for another article, but the reality is that the movie did help her career in a big way even if she regrets it, so it’s a hope that she can at least acknowledge that despite the fiction that was worked for the movie it was worth the effort in terms of her reputation and with what it might have done for many people when it comes to remembering just how things were back and then and how they don’t need to be at this moment. Viola is going to have her opinion of the movie and like anyone else she’s entitled to it, but another hope would be that she might at least acknowledge that the content might have turned a few people around when it comes to how they think of how things were back then.

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