Aimed At Us - Tyler Perry's Acrimony
Tyler Perry is not a good filmmaker. Writing, directing, acting. It doesn't really matter which hat he's wearing; he's pretty terrible at all of them. The one knack he has is for the business of reaching his audience. It's the reason his name is in the title of his films. Time and time again, his formula proves to be appealing, but much like eating ice cream cake for dinner every night, I’m not sure it’s good that this is what people want. It has low production values, mediocre performances and plotting that is only notable in the ‘wow, they really did that’ kind of way. There is seemingly nothing here about anyone’s actual life. The characters are 2-D cartoons saying dumb things to one another until the film exhausts it’s overindulgent 2-hour runtime. So the film definitely isn't good. But it does offer insights into Tyler Perry's worldview. It is hard not to walk away asking 'why does Tyler Perry hate Black women?'
The relationship at the center of the film starts while Melinda (played by Ajiona Alexus and Taraji P. Henson) and Robert (played by Antonio Madison and Lyriq Bent) are in college together. Their relationship starts out innocently enough after Robert perseveres through her initially icy exterior. All goes well until two things happen. First, Melinda's mother dies and leaves her a large sum of money. She then begins a cycle of spending that money to support Robert. Second, Robert cheats on Melinda, unlocking her 'rage.' Though the pair make it through these times, the seeds of their undoing were sewn.
Many years pass and the cycle continues. While Robert never cheated again, he did continue to drain Melinda's accounts in support of an invention he had been working on for over a decade. Eventually, they lose the house Melinda's mother left her and Melinda has had enough with Robert's refusal to seek full-time, steady work. After much back and forth, the two eventually divorce. Soon thereafter, Robert catches a break that leads him to establish the life he and Melinda always dreamed of, but with another woman reaping the rewards. When Melinda realizes this, her 'rage' returns, leading to a tumultuous conclusion.
There is a lot going on here. Relationships, mental health, money management. Tyler Perry's Acrimony has Black women being bad on all fronts. Acrimony, as the film clumsily reminds us, means bitterness. Thus, it is hard not to feel like Tyler Perry's Acrimony and Tyler Perry's acrimony are both aimed at Black women. Who hurt him? Why do the vast majority of his movies revel in the pain of Black women? Why do Black women like watching these tortured portrayals? All of these questions swirled in my mind in equal measure as I watched, but more than anything, I just wanted it to be over.
But be careful what you wish for, because before it would end, I was treated to one of the more comically outlandish endings imaginable. Nothing is realistic in a Tyler Perry affair, but this one did more than strain incredulity. It left me with my own acrimony--toward Perry, toward the actors and toward the idea that this is what anyone wants to see.
If you like our content, please SHARE using the buttons below and SIGN UP for our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest!