Just fresh off of her action packed crime thriller Proud Mary, released back in January of this year; Taraji P. Henson just can’t seem to stay off the big screen. Reunited with director Tyler Perry for their 3rd movie together 2nd playing the lead, Henson delivers a performance full of fire, passion, anger, ill feeling, resentment, malice, hostility, and bitterness in her latest film. All of that emotion describes the term Acrimony, which is the title of the movie. They picked the perfect person to display all the above and she does it with style in this thriller. I love seeing Henson on screen big and small and while this film shows how much determination she puts into these films, this character somehow stems from a script that puts her over the top in a familiar way you see in Perry’s films.
Before I decided to write this review, I had to see it twice. I also wanted to get different perspectives on the movie from someone else. So I saw the movie twice with two different people and this movie just brings out so many thoughts and conversation. It is not cut and dry as you think. This is a very complex story. I mean, it’s about relationships and what is more complex than that. Never black and white, always a grey area. Some of the emotions I was feeling during this movie were sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment. There were just so many things that happened that could have went the other way and these two love birds could have lived happily ever after.
This generation’s Fatal Attraction, Henson stars as Melinda Moore, a faithful wife who is tired of siding with her husband Robert Gayle (Lyriq Bent, Saw Series, The Book of Negroes), who she met in college. Robert has a dream of making it big with his new idea of creating a one of a kind rechargeable battery but causes turmoil and resentment in their marriage. A good relationship gone wrong when Robert slowly starts to see the side of Melinda he didn’t know existed. Melinda has an anger inside of her that is too strong to control and when she feels betrayed, that anger is unleashed and everyone better move out of the way.
The movie started off with a scene that immediately shows Melinda as a grown woman who is already in a situation where she has hit the deep in. She is sentence to talk with a therapist who insist on hearing why she is so angry and why her husband has did her so wrong to the point that she seems murderous towards him. So she proceeds to go back to the beginning and we watch how they met all the way up to the point of the first scene of the movie. This only takes up half of the movie and the other half is told in present time. We pretty much get her side of the story but Tyler Perry throws so many curve balls that we can’t help but not pick one side in this scenario. This is what keeps your attention in the movie. You at times even see yourself living the situation with her and asking yourself, “What would I do if I was her or him?” In fact, I had a gentleman, who sat next to me the first time around; ask me “Whose side are you on?” True story, this was during the movie. To his defense, he had been drinking before and during the film, because this theatre has a bar now and why why why would you let people drink while going in the movies is baffling to me because there is one that will get drunk and get loud in the one place there should be total silence but that is a different article. My response was that, “I can see both sides so far and the movie is still going on.”
After the movie, I could hear this man campaigning for Robert and it really made me appreciate Perry’s storytelling to invoke such a response. My other friend of mine who I saw it with didn’t even know he was watching a thriller. He didn’t remember the trailer but apparently was shocked when it took a horrifying turn and became a bit disappointed with where things were going. So, I wanted to bring up the fact that what you are watching has a breaking point. A teapot that is ready to go off and start whistling, a balloon that is ready to pop if you keep pumping it full of air, or what Melinda would say full of bullshit.
This movie may be a thriller but It still came off as a drama as for a good portion of the movie you may know that Melinda has rage inside of her but the movie throughout isn’t concentrated on that. Instead you just get a little hint of it in the beginning and then at the end. I actually wouldn’t mind it told that way but if you are going to have something build up the way this movie did, you have to go out with a bang. The final 10 mins of the movie was a little bit laughable. The finale felt rushed, improved, badly choreographed and took the tone of the movie from 10 to 100 in a matter of seconds. Had that last scene been better, it would have made up for the tension building last hour of the film.
Overall, I enjoyed the film, it made me want to see it again and the second time didn’t bring down the entertainment value for me. The acting was superb from many of its players. The story was strong and compelling. If you plan on coming to see a suspenseful thriller throughout the entire film, you will be missing out. That isn’t a bad thing but it is something different than what you expected from the trailer. This movie can also be seen from all different types of people and not just for the black community. Within the writing, Henson is heard narrating her story to the audience as if we were the therapist listening to her story that makes her character relatable to those who feel they have been treated wrongly by a man. In that respect, this movie is geared towards the female audience more than the males but if you are a fan of Tyler Perry films as well as those movies with the incredible Taraji P. Henson then this movie will not disappoint.
4 out of 5
Side note: What you have here is also another example of a woman, a black woman character to be exact, in a Tyler Perry movie who is written in a way to show her frustrations with a very over the top chaotic performance featuring them destroying rooms with golf clubs, destroying private and public property, going off the deep in with their desires, fighting and scratching their way like a child with a temper tantrum, and being punished in a way I am sure the devil hasn’t even thought of yet. Movies like Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Why did I get married?, Addicted, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, all great films but are just some of the examples that display a woman getting angry and doing it in such a way that is to the max that they are in a state of mind to hurt themselves as well as others. The men in the film, some who display behavior that a man shouldn’t do, are not always seen as the better person but the men usually don’t explode in a way the women characters do and there is something to be said about that. I won’t even comment on the stereotype that a black woman can’t be mad or she is known as the angry loud black woman. I am speaking more in general, the women characters are always shown to be bombs just ready to go off as if they have no handle on the emotions and thoughts going through their minds and heart. I hope that in the future we see a different side to these characters as I am sure Perry will continue to make films as long as he can write them and directs them. I believe these characters can be written differently and for the better.