By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
I haven’t yet seen Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” but that said, right now I’d be thrilled if the best-actress Oscar goes to Viola Davis in “The Help.”
The film, which comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, was based on Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel. While “The Help” was generally praised by critics, there was also plenty of debate about the racial issues depicted in it. Some didn’t think that Stockett, who is white, could have fairly depicted the lives of African-American maids in the 1960s. Stockett and director Tate Taylor grew up as friends in Jackson, Miss., and both have defended their take on the film.
But it would be a shame if the controversy overshadowed in any way Davis’ performance. As Aibileen Clark, a maid who’s helped raise 17 white children, she’s a revelation.
Davis was able to reach into her own past for fodder for her role. She told NPR that her own mother was the oldest of 18 children and picked cotton on a South Carolina plantation.
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