Viola Davis regrets doing 'The Help', explains why


13 Sep 2018

Viola Davis regrets doing the movie which earned her Oscar-nomination

Viola Davis, who won an Oscar for 'Fences', recently said that she regretted acting in 'The Help'.

Although Tate Taylor's period drama was critically acclaimed, the 53-year-old Viola had problems with how her character was depicted. Notably, her role as Aibileen Clark, a black maid, won her a 'Best Actress' nomination at the 84th Oscars.

Here's more on what she said.

Viola's roles

Viola didn't like how black maids were portrayed

Viola, in her interview, was speaking about her choice of roles and her regrets over choices.

She affirmed that there were a couple of roles that she regretted passing up. However, there were also some roles she regretted doing. One of them was 'The Help'.

She disapproved of the way black maids were portrayed in the movie, despite her enjoying working with the cast.

Viola's take

Viola and the politics of representation

Viola's objection was that the voices of maids went unheard.

She said, "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".

Notably, the film was criticized for over-crediting white women for race-relation improvement.

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Viola's burden

The burden of representation

Viola's concern with the intersectional representation of black voices in films is understandable.

She realizes the burden of being an A-listed black actress in Hollywood and the hope she represents to colored women.

Though it is difficult to carry the baton of responsibility, she decided to be the leader. She was influenced after seeing the disparity between privileged and non-privileged people of color.

Writer's note

Hollywood and its love for mainstream narratives

Hollywood has a history of making films on mainstream narratives and stereotypes. Only recently have they diversified to include other racial and sexual perspectives.

Even then, they cannot let any radical narrative become the norm, which is why 'Black Panther', for all its sensitivity, vilifies Killmonger.

With Hollywood subsuming all discursive stories into this pattern, Viola's dream of accurate intersectional narratives seems distant.

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