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While still containing Tyler Perry’s campy style, his experiment with the thriller genre may lead those who haven’t written him off to be impressed.
|Screenplay By||Tyler Perry|
|Genre(s)||Thriller, Romance, Drama|
|Melina||Taraji P. Henson|
|Young Melinda||Ajiona Alexus|
|Young Robert||Antonio Madison|
For a little more than 18 years, Melinda and Robert were together. He was her first, she got him a car, and pretty much she gave everything she could to him – including her youth. As for what he gave in return? His company, but he didn’t even make that exclusively hers. And you know, second chances are hard to come by but with love, it makes people fools. However, love also makes people do crazy things and there comes a point where Robert inspires Melinda to go off the deep end but, I’ll leave it there.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- What in the world was Melinda referring to when it came to the rumors about Casey?
The Writing and Performances Push Your Expectations of Perry to Another Level
One of the issues one could have with Tyler Perry is, at this point, you can argue he has gotten a bit lazy. Not in terms of running a studio and what that involves, more so in creating compelling movies [note]I don’t watch his TV shows so I can’t comment on them[/note]. Madea evolved into enough of a cash cow that noteworthy actresses were no longer needed, and he could co-star with reality TV or internet famous people, even do holiday-themed movies, and still make bank.
Yet, while you can, and likely many have, put a pessimistic spin on Perry’s career up to this point, there is the alternative. Of which is Perry, similar to Tim Burton and others, kept doing the commercial movies so they could afford to take a risk. Something I’d argue Acrimony is.
Perry’s career has been built on comedies and when it came to the drama, there were heavy-handed lessons included. Yet, after more than a decade, it seems the formula just might be in the process of being perfected. Both the young and old versions of Melinda, as well as Brenda, have their comedic moments as a lot of dramatic things happen in Melinda’s life. All of which, like many of Perry’s films, with certain audiences, will inspire commentary
But with Perry working with talented actors once again, you can see what he has been missing since, perhaps 2013. This idea that he wants to push himself as an auteur, not just take advantage of his loyal audience, but take note that he is no longer the only consistently working Black creator anymore. Between Ava DuVerney, Ryan Coogler and more, he can’t skate by on support just so the door will stay open for who follows.
Leading to the major pluses of the movie. It sets you up perfectly to have mixed feelings in the long run. It uses a long build with the young actors, really gives them a chance to set up a proper foundation before they pass the baton over. Then when that happens, Henson reminds you of the better days of Perry’s movie career. For while she may use her signature style of being a bit over the top, sometimes she, and you, will be so in the moment that you’ll forget she is the type of actress who plays an exaggerated version of herself.
Her performance though isn’t the only noteworthy one. Like many movies which jump from the younger years to older, you have to also credit the Ajiona Alexus and Antonio Madison. As with many other urban dramas of this ilk, you can fully imagine the young versions handling the entire movie and not necessarily needing their older counterparts. Which isn’t to say that would have been a good direction but more so the talent of the young actors to hold their own and do more than compliment the veterans of the movie but be almost equals.
Leaving one last thing: the movie contains something which is so good but just hinting to it too much ruins it. It’s something you don’t expect from Perry yet you can already foresee him, in non-Madea movies, possibly revisiting this idea again. Just because, in interviews, he seemed so excited by the result of it.
On The Fence
It’s Still Tyler Perry’s Style
As someone who considers themselves a fan of Perry’s work, this was him stepping up in my eyes. The writing makes him seem like a veteran and that he is trying to focus on quality over quantity. That he has proven he can make a hit so now he wants to slowly veer towards substance. However, there remains this campy, corniness to it. Something which Henson excels at the point that her not having more comedic roles seems strange because it is honestly so hard at times to take her seriously.
Arguably the same goes for most of the cast. With Perry’s writing, it makes even when a character is mad or cussing into something you hear and see with a joke embedded. Like anytime someone goes off it is supposed to either get a laugh or initially shock you before you end up cheering them on. It’s all call and response and doesn’t lessen the value if you enjoy Perry, but I can tell you right now he could win over some of his critics but others will surely just see this as a new coat of paint on an old engine.
While not a classic, Tyler Perry’s Acrimony does present a step in the right direction for Perry’s illustrious career. One which continues to make it seem that while Madea is a cash cow, perhaps the character is also holding Perry back. For after two Boo! movies to be followed by this, you can see when Perry puts his mind to it he can create something fresh for his brand, but maybe the fear of failure keeps him from doing it. Similar to Will Smith, for most of his career, sticking to playing heroes and rarely venturing towards characters that were a bit more complicated and didn’t fit the brand.