“Maxine’s Baby,” is an inspirational depiction of how Tyler Perry built a film empire, but it also glorifies Perry and gives little insight into the serious critique against some of his characters.
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“Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” General Information
|Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz
|Tyler Perry’s life
|Date Released ( Prime Video)
|November 22, 2023
|1 Hour, 56 Minutes
|Noted Characters and Cast
“Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” Film Summary
“Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” sheds light on the childhood and rise of one of the most successful and controversial filmmakers in history. Tyler Perry is a billionaire, a philanthropist, and a hardworking creative that writes, directs, acts, and produces more than two films a year. For the past two decades, Perry has received his fair share of criticism for his portrayal of Black Americans, and he’s also received praise for turning his pain into power. Gelila Bekele and Armani Ortiz’s documentary, “Maxine’s Baby,” is an inspirational and sometimes painful depiction of how Perry built a film empire, but it also glorifies Tyler Perry and gives little insight into the serious critique against some of his characters.
“Maxine’s Baby” interviews Perry’s colleagues, detractors, mentors, family, and childhood friends to paint the picture of Perry’s power. From Oprah Winfrey to Perry’s aunt, “Maxine’s Baby” shows Perry’s difficult upbringing, his transition to theater, his first movie, the depiction of Madea, his creation of hit shows, and the construction of his own studio. Perry’s story shows a rare creative and entrepreneurial force that worked hard and knew his voice and his audience better than anyone else. There was constant doubt about Perry, constant criticism, and constant grief, but “Maxine’s Baby” conveys how Perry has overcome all those obstacles.
There’s no doubt that Tyler Perry deserves a documentary. He’s an astounding personification of the American Dream and a cultural staple. But a movie about a current living billionaire isn’t going to dive deep into a controversy or ask too much of the man. In fact, the movie glorifies Tyler Perry to an overbearing degree, as if a montage of his greatest moments will result in him popping up into your living room to accept a lifetime achievement award. An intriguing moment showing Perry’s father adds an unexpected emotional shift to the documentary, but the praise for Perry becomes tiresome.
“The finest wine comes from the toughest grapes” is something said about Perry during the documentary. “Maxine’s Baby” discusses how fine the wine is and not much about how tough the grapes are.
Content Rating Explanation
“Maxine’s Baby” is rated PG-13 due to profanity, smoking, and discussions of adult subject material (child abuse, suicide, gun violence, etc.).
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.
Tyler Perry is a writer, director, producer, and actor. While he grew up struggling with abuse and suicidal thoughts, he found comfort and power in writing until he became a self-made billionaire with his movies and shows.
Other Noteworthy Information
- Writer and director Gelila Bekele has been in an on-and-off relationship with Tyler Perry for more than a decade.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
- Did you know most of this information about Tyler Perry? Was there anything else you wish it covered more?
- What’s your opinion of the critiques of Tyler Perry’s work?
“Maxine’s Baby” Review
Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
A Fine Introduction to Perry’s Amazing Story
“Maxine’s Baby” will leave you amazed at Tyler Perry’s work ethic. The man claims to have written twenty scripts in two weeks and thousands of pages each year, and he has multiple projects always in the works. As a Black billionaire, Tyler Perry worked hard to build his own fan base, to create media for an audience where that wasn’t media for them. His success is deserved, and “Maxine’s Baby” shows a glimpse of that work ethic and the struggles Perry endured to get where he is today.
On The Fence
Uncomfortable Amounts of Praise
Tyler Perry is Christian, but the way he’s talked about in “Maxine’s Baby” makes him sound like the second coming of Christ. Words like “savior,” comparisons to God and his people, and biblical imagery are repeated throughout the documentary. The filmmaker deserves praise for creating movies for an unrepresented audience, yet the endless raves for Perry grow tiresome over two hours.
No Real Depth or Discussion of Criticisms Against Tyler Perry
“Maxine’s Baby” is less of a documentary and more of a flattering biopic of the filmmaker. The movie actually takes time to show clips of media and people who are critical of Perry’s work, but does so in a way that doesn’t share why they dislike his movies or the whole story. For example, Perry’s Madea is beloved but is also considered representative of minstrel shows and harmful Black stereotypes. The movie shares that Madea is disliked because Perry plays her, not because of what she represents. The documentary shows a clip of Black filmmaker Spike Lee disliking Perry’s work but doesn’t say why. The lack of nuance makes “Maxine’s Baby” feel guarded and like a fluff feature.
Who Is This For?
Fans of Tyler Perry and movies in general will appreciate or learn something from “Maxine’s Baby.”
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