kunc-header-1440x90.png
Our Story Happens Here
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The 1A Movie Club: Why ‘The Help’ Doesn’t Help

(L-R): US actress Emma Stone, US actress Viola Davis, US actress Octavia Spencer, US actress  Alison Janney and US screenwriter Kathryn Stockett pose during the photocall of the movie "The Help".
(L-R): US actress Emma Stone, US actress Viola Davis, US actress Octavia Spencer, US actress Alison Janney and US screenwriter Kathryn Stockett pose during the photocall of the movie "The Help".

While the fight for racial justice isn’t new for many, some  are searching for ways to become better allies and to understand systemic oppression for the first time. And they’re  turning to movies to help educate themselves.

Now, 2011’s “The Help” has become the most-watched film on Netflix. But many Black people and critics say the film is not the movie you should be watching to better understand race relations.

The period piece has been criticized for its depiction of stereotypical roles of Black women and its white savior theme. Actress Viola Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in the movie. But she told  The New York Times she regretted starring in it.

Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and “The Help” is on that list. But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great. The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life. I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than Tate Taylor.

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.

Here are some of the the movies and series we talk about during this show.

  • “13th” (2016)
  • “Blackkklansman” (2018)
  • “Get Out” (2017)
  • “I Am Not Your Negro” (2016)
  • “Just Mercy” (2019)
  • “When They See Us” (2019)

We add to this list and talk with you about how ‘The Help’ doesn’t actually help.

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.