How Bryce Dallas Howard Really Feels About Her Role In The Help

If you're a Hollywood actress, starring in the most popular movie on Netflix seems like it should be a big win. But Bryce Dallas Howard, perhaps best known for the Jurassic World blockbusters, says she is now cringing at her role as the racist Hilly Holbrook in the 2011 film, The Help. The movie had reached number recently, according to the LA Times. It's set in Mississippi in the 1960s and is about a young white writer (played by Emma Stone) who tells the story of the black maids in her small, racially segregated town. 

Does Howard do too good of a job depicting Hilly Holbrook, a vicious queen bee whose life's mission is to prevent the African-American "help" from using their white employers' toilets? "She's the character you love to hate," Howard said in an interview with Fandom when the movie first released. 

Actually, it's not playing a racist that Howard regrets — it's that The Help perpetuates the white-savior trope rather than sharing an authentic black experience (via Vanity Fair). The movie "is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers," she posted on Facebook recently. 

Viola Davis also regrets being in The Help

Howard isn't the only actor from The Help who wishes she'd turned down the script. Costar Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar for her role as maid Aibileen Clark. She, too, felt that the movie did not do justice to the black experience and notes it was directed by a white man, Tate Taylor, and that the script was based on a book by a white woman, Kathryn Stockett. 

"I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn't the voices of the maids that were heard," she told the New York Times. ""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."

Bryce Dallas Howard recommends 10 movies to stream instead

Despite this disenchantment with The Help, Howard does not want you to cancel your Netflix subscription. In fact, she praised the experience of watching movies in her post: "Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action," she wrote. But she added that it's important to watch stories that are authentic narratives. 

"If you are seeking ways to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, lynchings, segregation, Jim Crow, and all the ways in which those have an impact on us today," continued Howard's post, "here are a handful of powerful, essential, masterful films and shows that center Black lives, stories, creators, and/or performers." 

Her list includes: 13th, ⁣Eyes on the Prize⁣, I Am Not Your Negro, Just Mercy⁣, Malcom X⁣, Say Her Name: The Life And Death Of Sandra Bland⁣, Selma⁣, Watchmen⁣, and When They See Us. She also asked her followers on social media to post their own recommendations. 

Indeed, the tides have changed since Howard shared these comments: Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods is now near the top of Netflix's most-streamed movie list.