Tate Taylor’s 2011 drama “The Help” is the No. 1 most-watched movie on Netflix (per the streamer’s June 4 chart), which isn’t sitting right with a handful of critics and journalists as the movie’s popularity in streaming coincides with the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. “The Help,” based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name, has been criticized for its white savior narrative and for sidelining the perspective of black characters like the maids Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer). The film was a box office hit ($216 million worldwide), an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, and an Oscar winner for Spencer’s supporting performance.
That “The Help” is pulling in such streaming numbers to top Netflix’s charts amid the George Floyd protests has prompted notable writers such as Ashly Perez, Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, and Ira Madison III to speak out against the film’s surge in viewership. Madison III reacted to a separate Black Lives Matter post by Netflix by writing, “Okay but be a soldier and delete ‘The Help’ from Netflix.”
“I’m so sorry but the last thing folx need to be watching are bootleg ‘racial reconciliation’ movies like ‘The Help,’” film critic Theodore-Vachon wrote. “If you need a list of Black films, Black film critics are on here happy to suggest some really good ones.”
Perez worried that a surge in popularity for “The Help” would extend to other