If there’s one story people can’t get enough of, it’s white people saving stuff. Man, people really love that story. Show us a problem and a white person to solve it, and you’re on your way to box office—and maybe even Oscar—gold. And since Reese Witherspoon, American Citizen, wants another Oscar, she’s entered the “white people saving stuff” genre with The Good Lie, a movie about how a Southern brunette woman rescues poor black boys and gives them a home and sense of family, all while teaching them football. Or farming or whatever, f*ck you.
I don’t want to downplay how powerful the stories of the Lost Boys of Sudan are—they are very powerful. If you want to see a movie that documents the devastating loss and encompassing hope that sprung from a terrible crisis in humanity, I recommend the documentary The Lost Boys of Sudan. Because what Reese Witherspoon, American Citizen, is bringing us is that incredible journey distilled into a white savior narrative. Yes, a lot of kind-hearted people opened their homes to the Lost Boys, and many of them were white. But why is that the central narrative? Why is Tough But Kind White Lady the hero, and not the boys themselves? Why are we, in 2014, still filtering this stuff through a white lens? Why is the triumph her helping them, and not THEIR survival?
Because Reese Witherspoon, American Citizen, wants a trophy. And White Lady Saves Stuff is as close to a sure thing as it gets. Especially if she dyes her hair dark and wears “no” makeup, and twangs her accent all over the place. And teaches them life lessons through sports or animal husbandry or whatever, f*ck you.
(Lainey: but when Reese has brown hair there’s always an Oscar campaign!)