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You tell Abileen that the next time she wants to write about my dear friend Elizabeth, remember her? Had you in her wedding? Let's just say that Abileen should've been a little bit smarter before mentioning the L shaped scratch in poor Elizabeth's dining table. And that n***er Minny, do I have plans for her!
~ Hilly Holbrook confronting Skeeter about writing The Help moments before being thrown off Skeeter's property


Hilly Holbrook is the main antagonist from the 2009 book The Help by Kathryn Stockett and its 2011 film adaptation of the same name.

In the film, she was portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard, who also portrayed Victoria in Twilight: Eclipse.

Biography

Hilly is a leading figure among the upper-class young women of Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. She is married and has a young child named Billy, and where she goes all of her lady friends go too. Her poise, beauty, and outward cheeriness mask her vindictive and greedy personality. She was once a close friend of protagonist Skeeter Phelan, but they begin to grow apart when Skeeter starts to realize how twisted Hilly truly is. Though she gives a show of friendliness, she is deeply racist and leads her friends in support of segregation.

When her mother begins showing signs of senility, Hilly invites her and her black maid, Minny Jackson, to stay in her house, firing her own maid, since Minny was claimed as one of the best cooks in Mississippi.

One of the main plot points involving her is her drafting the Home House Sanitation Initiative, which she claims is a disease preventative bill that will protect whites from contracting diseases from blacks. When she orders Minny to use her outside bathroom during a violent thunderstorm, Minny sneaks upstairs to use the indoor bathroom. When she discovers this, Hilly fires her and begins to spread the lie that Minny is a theif, making it almost impossible for her to find a new job.

Minny has her revenge on Hilly when she shows up offering her own waste baked into a chocolate pie. Hilly eats two slices of the pie before Minny (albeit unplanned) reveals the truth to her, exclaiming "Eat my shit!" Her mother, hearing this, bursts out laughing. Unable to take the humiliation, Hilly commits her aging mother to a nursing home for laughing at her. Minny, meanwhile, ends up working for Celia Foote, a girl from a poor family who has married Johnny Foote, an old flame of Hilly's. Hilly and her friends refuse to allow Celia to join their circle, partly out of prejudice against her poor background, partly in anger over Celia's marrying Johnny.

Hilly's new maid, Yule Mae asks her for a loan so she can send her sons to college, offering to work for nothing until it is paid off, which she refuses stating, "God doesn't give charity for those who are well and able." A few days later, Yule Mae finds a discarded ring behind Hilly's sofa and pawns it to raise more money. Discovering this, Hilly orders Yule Mae arrested.

Meanwhile, Skeeter, with the help of Minny and Abileen Clark, has been writing a book about black maid's experiences. When they worry Hilly will discover that the book is partly about her, Minny tells Skeeter to include the story of the chocolate pie. As Minny planned, Hilly insistently denies that the book is about her or anyone else in Jackson, for fear of being exposed as the victim of the Terrible Awful.

She shows her true colors when she confronts Skeeter about the book. She arrives on Skeeter's porch and threatens to sue her for libel and get revenge on Minny. Skeeter claps back, saying that "Thats chapter 12". Hilly attempts to rat on Skeeter to her mother, but she has already figured out who is who in The Help, and throws Hilly off the property.

Hilly decides to take her revenge on Minny and Aibleen. She instructs her husband to get Minny's husband Leroy fired. When Leroy tries to beat Minny for this, Minny takes her children and leaves him to work full time for Celia.

Hilly tries to take revenge on Abileen by telling her employer, Elizabeth Leefolt, that Aibileen stole some of her silverware. When she threatens to have her arrested, but Aibleen stands up to her and warns her that she has enough information to write about the "Terrible Awful", and that the paper is free. Hilly breaks down and storms away, and is last seen clutching her stomach and shedding tears as Aibleen leaves.

Personality

As the queen bee of Jackson and the town's biggest socialite, Hilly has it all: a wealthy husband, a beautiful son and an incredible house, but that is insufficient. Hilly will not sit still until she has persuaded all of Jackson to submit to the Home Health Sanitation Initiative, a program that would forbid the "colored help" from using the toilets of their white employers and would be forced to use outside toilets that are little more than outhouses with working plumbing.

She is also very hypocritical, being the head of a charity benefit to help raise money for needy African children, only for herself to be incredibly racist and bigoted towards African Americans in Jackson.

Trivia

  • Many have noted that despite playing Hilly Holbrook, Bryce Dallas Howard is nothing like Hilly, being the exactly polar opposite to the character. Ironically, Tate Taylor and the film's producers didn't originally want to cast Howard as Hilly as they considered her too kind to play such a spiteful character, leading Howard to convince and insist them that she could play a villain.

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