Tyler Perry’s Acrimony

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Taraji P. Henson stars as Melinda, the wife of an idealistic inventor named Robert (Lyriq Bent). They are the textbook definition of a dysfunctional relationship. Both have individual insecurities and flaws that make them a volatile pair. After their unhappy union finally dissolves, Robert is offered a life-changing deal that causes Melinda to have a change of heart. Unable to think rationally her regret morphs into rage and she threatens the lives of those closest to her.

While it’s not a perfect film (is there really such a thing?), Acrimony certainly provides entertainment for better or for worse.

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Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (2018) Lionsgate GIF

First and foremost Henson is a beast. I’m always impressed by how much she commits to the characters she portrays. She doesn’t just “pretend” to be another person, she actually becomes them. Her talent has led her to take on incredibly versatile roles. Carter, Cookie, Katherine, Mary….all strong women and all flawed, but perhaps none as much as Melinda. The movie on the whole definitely has its flaws, but Taraji is assuredly not one of them.

One of the most curious aspects of Acrimony is the fact that it’s really only a thriller for the last 30 minutes or so. Up until that point I’d describe it as a drama…a sad and unhappy drama featuring two emotionally wounded partners.

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A still from Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (2018) Lionsgate

We aren’t just looking at this dysfunctional couple in the present; we see everything from their first meeting, up to their first fight and eventual wedding. It’s startling to think about all of the red flags leading up to the movie’s final moments. And even more so when you count the number of times one of them should have walked away from the relationship. The pacing is very slow and the drifting quality of the story makes the run time (2 hours) seem even longer than it really is.

I do wonder about the messages that this movie sends. It’s hard to get into without giving away spoilers, but I think the ending can be left open to completely different interpretations. The film seems to suggest that a truly faithful spouse should tolerate marital abuse (mental, emotional, etc.) because that proves their love and commitment. Furthermore, if you endure the emotional manipulation long enough (18 years in the case of Melinda) all your suffering will be worth it in the end.

I tend to look for some form of redemption in films like these and so I consider Acrimony something of a cautionary tale. Choosing to make the same decisions as these characters will likely prove fatal. This is underscored by the film’s bleak third act.

What do you think about the film’s ending? Does it send a problematic message about marital abuse? Leave me a comment down below!

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Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (2018) Lionsgate

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony is of course written, directed and executive produced by Perry. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Crystle Stewart, Danielle Nicolet, Bresha Webb, Jazmyn Simon, Kendrick Cross, Nelson Estevez, and Ajiona Alexus.

*FYI The film received an R rating as it does contain strong language and mature subject matter

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4 thoughts on “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony

  1. I think we were the only two to see and blog about this on WordPress lol (I kid…I think?!). But yeah, I can see the message being hard to digest because it is a little conflicting. What is Perry really trying to say?

    I found the story to be pretty nihilistic and I found that actually a little entertaining. Everyone’s bad and things don’t make sense. Kind of felt like the last act of Gone Girl in a way, I and most of my theater laughed at the whole setup and reveal of everything as it got deeper, and I do think that Perry was making some of this humor intentional (not all of it but some). At least this is watchable, with OK direction and a sound ,energetic performance from TPH. This is what I wanted her to be like in Proud Mary, a little more unleashed.

    It’s not great technically but has a little bit of self-awareness. I think if Perry committed to doing more thrillers with tighter writing, he could be good. He’s no hack behind the camera. But, we’ll just get more money making Madea movies that I have no interest in watching :(.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HA I think we’re definitely in the minority, but that’s okay! I like that you mentioned Gone Girl because I read that was what inspired Perry to create this film. It stands to reason that there would be some similarities there.

      I went to a matinee and my audience was pretty vocal as well (especially at that wacky ending)! I admire Perry for trying something new because Lord knows I’ve seen enough Madea movies to last a lifetime LOL Hopefully he’ll begin to broaden himself. I think if he tried writing/producing or just directing/producing he would be a much more effective filmmaker. In my humble opinion, filmmaking should be a collaborative process and he’s missing out on that by doing it all himself every single time. Then again he seems pretty happy with where he is. More power to him.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I didn’t write anything at all last month so it feels good to jump back in and have feedback. Have a great weekend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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