Amid nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, the 2011 drama “The Help” quickly became one of the most-watched movies on Netflix. But the film — based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel — also drew criticism for its white savior narrative. So one of its stars, Bryce Dallas Howard, recommended other movies to watch about racial injustice that could be more educational than “The Help.”
“‘The Help’ is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers,” Howard wrote on Facebook. “We can all go further.”
Howard, who portrayed one of the racist villains in the movie, suggested audiences check out films and television shows that better tell the stories of Black lives by other Black creators, storytellers and performers.
“Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action,” she wrote.
For those looking to learn more about the Civil Rights movement, lynchings, segregation, and Jim Crow laws, Howard highlighted the following films: Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th,” Civil Rights doc “Eyes on the Prize,” “I Am Not Your Negro” about James Baldwin, real-life legal drama “Just Mercy,” “Malcolm X,” “Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland,” “Selma,” “Watchmen,” and DuVernay’s Netflix mini-series “When They See Us.”
“The Help,” which follows two Black maids who worked for white families during the Civil Rights era, received four Academy nominations. Viola Davis later expressed her regret for starring in the film.
Meanwhile, DuVernay, who was a film publicist for “The Help,” said working on that film made her quit her work in PR and “pushed” her to start making her own movies.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” Davis said in an interview from 2018. “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.”