In an Instagram post on June 7, Bryce Dallas Howard spoke out about the film, referring to it as a "story told through the perspective of a white character," that "was created by predominantly white storytellers".
The film itself was directed by a white man, based on a book by a white woman and focused on a white woman's decision to write about the lives of black maids. Criticised for glorifying a white saviour narrative, there's no wonder why the film's top-spot on Netflix, especially during the protests, has caused a stir.
In the film, Howard played racist housewife, Hillary "Hilly" Holbrook, which ultimately scored Octavia Spencer an Academy Award for her performance, and secured Viola Davis a nomination. While the film was relatively well-received by the Academy, The Help has dealt with its fair share of criticism since its release.
In 2018, Viola Davis–who played maid Aibileen Clark–spoke of her regret starring in the movie in an interview with The New York Times.
“I just felt like at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” Davis stated. “I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mum. 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.”
Most recently, Davis posted about her participation in the protests, along with fellow co-star Octavia Spencer. The actress also included a lengthy caption that highlighted her passion for standing up for people of colour, while The Help, in which they play black women serving white families, surges in views and gains criticism.
In her caption, Davis spoke of why she's protesting, saying: "My rage and pain, like many Black Americans is rooted in the depth of my soul. Too many years of being asked to numb it, has caused it to implode. But standing with these beautiful souls in protest and the reception of love and being seen was like a vaccine. "
So rather than watching The Help, Howard and many others online have suggested other films and television shows to watch for those looking to understand and eliminate white privilege. On Howard's list, she mentions films such as: 13th, Eyes on the Prize, I am Not Your Negro, Just Mercy, Selma and more that will educate audiences more accurately.
Ending her post, she amplified how “stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action.”