Viola Davis Faces Criticism From Fans Over ‘Cringey’ Portrayal Of Michelle Obama In New Showtime Series ‘The First Lady’

Viola Davis, Michelle Obama

Viola Davis Faces Criticism From Fans Over ‘Cringey’ Portrayal Of Michelle Obama In New Showtime Series ‘The First Lady’

Viola Davis is receiving a lot of criticism for her depiction of Michelle Obama in Showtime’s latest series, “The First Lady.”

Oscar-Award-winning actress Viola Davis, 56, stars as former President Barack Obama’s, 60, wife, Michelle Obama, 58, in a new 10-part series that follows the lives of Michelle and other well-known first ladies. Following the premiere of episode one, which aired on Sunday night ( Apr.17), fans quickly took to the internet to share their feedback and thoughts about Viola Davis’ performance.

Michelle Obama

It appears that viewers are mainly criticizing Davis for dramatically pursing her lips throughout most of the episode and her constant exaggerated facial expressions. Although she is attempting to mimic the facial features and expressions of  Michelle Obama, many fans feel it is overly exaggerated.

One social media user wrote,

”The director that made Viola Davis do that duck face may need to serve time.” 

Another person said,

“They set Viola Davis up by allowing her [to] keep her mouth that way throughout the filming. It’s so cringey and distracting.”

See more reactions below:






“The First Lady” follows three noted first ladies across three different presidential terms — Obama, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Gerald Ford. Gillian Anderson portrays Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, while Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Betty Ford, the wife of Gerald Ford. 

Prior to the show coming out, Viola Davis – who also produced the series – admitted that she had “anxiety” and “stress” about playing Michelle Obama, due to the high expectations that come with portraying a person beloved by so many. In a previous interview, Davis said,

“Let me tell you something, not only does the thought [of Michelle Obama watching the show] come to mind, it keeps me up at night,”

She continued:

“You don’t want to insult them by your portrayal… As much as we feel like we know Michelle Obama—and I did everything I could to research—there are those private moments where there’s some level of creative decision-making that you have to take.”

Viola Davis

What are your thoughts on Viola Davis’s performance thus far? Let us know in the comments below!
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Authored by: Monique Nicole