Acrimony may be the last straw for Tyler Perry movies…
Okay fine, CORRECTION – The last straw for making non-Madea movies. Acrimony is a LONG look into a toxic relationship and the lives affected by it. It displays a sharp decent into madness when an ex-wife cannot cope with her perception of slight and years of regret and lost time. It shows the flaws in both partners and allows the audience to chose sides. In theaters this creates an atmosphere almost designed to have folks yelling out at the screen to help our leads navigate life. The issue is that it ultimately means very little by time the credits role.
Taraji P Henson as Melinda is great, but also rather boring to be honest. She plays a character we’ve seen her play a million times before. She is Cookie Lyon from Empire. She is Yvette from Baby Boy. As our narrator, we can only take so much of what Melinda is saying to be true at times. She is speaking from a place of hurt and vengeance. There are times she speaks of Roberts actions and we are shown his intent, but that intent does not align with everything else we are shown him to be.
Robert is selfish as hell and can’t get right. He only wants to work on his project. He has such a laser focus on making that work that he neglects his wife’s dreams and desires and ultimately put the larger family in jeopardy when he moves opposite of his word. All that bring said, he seems to love Melinda with everything he’s got.
Tyler Perry has developed two REAL people, both with large positives and negatives. He sends us on this journey with them but I can’t seem to find the point. The advertising BELIEVES it does. The trailers look like Taraji is seeking revenge after being cheated on. Even the description of the movie on IMDB is convinced:
A faithful wife, tired of standing by her devious husband, is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed.
THAT is not the movie, and that is my frustration. I believe we were supposed to side with Melinda and enjoy as she seeks “justice”, but there was no one clear wrong. It was a give and take of issues on both sides that leads to a violent dramatic resolution. There wasn’t a message of “right love at the wrong time” or “toxic relationships are unhealthy” or anything of the sort. Perry shows us the right and wrong of both sides, but still wants us to pick one side AND empathize with the other. I appreciate that Tyler Perry took a step away from, “this attractive muscle bound man is clearly the devil, but THIS attractive muscle bound man you’ve been ignoring can save you”.
It was interesting to see real people and not just caricatures. Unfortunately, Perry does not know how to navigate this additional dimension. Coupled with a nagging run time, questionable final scene decisions, and laughable special effects at one point, we have a well intentioned slog of a film. Watching Acrimony was a lot like going through a break up… you may not be sure what happened or why it happened, but you are emotionally charged and pissed about the time you think you wasted. TSP – Trash Certified!
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