Review – Tyler Perry’s “Acrimony”

by Armando Vanegas

Tyler Perry’s Acrimony stars Taraji P. Henson as Melinda, a woman in a struggling marriage to Robert, an aspiring inventor. After feeling wronged, Melinda attempts to get what she feels she’s owed from Robert by any means necessary. That’s more or less what the story is about but we also learn how these two got together and what led to what went wrong in their marriage. Even though this sounds like something more nuanced or grounded considering who made it, it’s still the same ol Tyler Perry movie but there’s more ridiculousness than usual.

There’s still a lot of ridiculous moments like his movies usually have but it seems like he was trying to outdo himself here. Also, it has the usual melodramatic and soapy tone his movies usually have even though this movie definitely wants to be taken more seriously than his usual fare. Still, he attempts to get out of his comfort zone and while he doesn’t totally succeed on that end, I have to give him points.

The key to what made this movie watchable, aside from the movie itself, is Henson’s performance as she does a great job with what’s given to her. She gets to chew scenery for most of its runtime while also selling some of the more dramatic moments. She’s really believable as an angry woman who wants revenge and has felt that she’s wasted so many years on a man who has failed to reciprocate her feelings to their relationship thanks to his multiple failed attempts to sell his rechargeable battery invention. But at the same time, we see why it would be hard to deal with someone like her as she can be very confrontational and intimidating. That’s what makes her so fun and entertaining in the role though. Plus, there’s something admirable about how she’s still game for playing this character no matter what direction she has to take with her character. Playing Melinda in her current state is more blunt and unable to take nonsense from anybody yet she consistently keep making mistakes that keep her in the same place. The thing about that though is that she doesn’t get show any vulnerability even though I feel like we’re supposed to feel some vulnerability from her judging from how she’s telling the whole story of her relationship with Robert from her perspective and why she’s so upset and wronged. Every scene in the framing device in which she goes to the therapist seems like it’s coming from a really angry place that someone can truly relate to and it’s directed as if we’re supposed to see it from her perspective. But I didn’t feel bad for her because it’s all on her and she didn’t seem to learn anything from those past mistakes so too bad for her. Don’t get me wrong, they have a younger actress playing Melinda in some of the flashbacks during the movie and she actually does a better job making her sympathetic until Tyler Perry has to put it some moments that stretch believability. Even with my issues with how the character was played, it’s seems like whether it’s her performance or from Perry’s script, the way her emotions are played at times seem to be coming from a true place because she really sold it when she needed to communicate it to the audience. Some of her moments also seemed to resonate well with the mostly female audience I went to see this with judging from the occasional vocal reactions they made. I can’t say whether is actually true to life but even my mom who wanted to see this seemed to get something deep out of it. So even if it came off as a feature length soap opera to me, it’s nice to see that someone was able to relate to it on a personal level because that’s part of the power of movies and art in general.

I did appreciate that at least Robert wasn’t a mustache twirling villain. Played by Lyriq Bent, he gives a more sympathetic performance to his role of Robert and makes him more fleshed out considering that they set him up as this monster according to Melinda. Also, Perry does a solid job showing how much he definitely loved Melinda but he didn’t know where his priorities lied as he was such a dreamer even when he and Melinda were at their lowest. There was some nice balance to him as he means well but he’s consistently screwing up. There’s also a woman from Robert’s past named Diana, who attempts to help Robert during his struggles with selling his invention. I liked how she was just a regular person caught up in an awkward situation. She seems to genuinely have feelings for him and thankfully, it’s not the typical evil mistress that’s in a lot of Tyler Perry’s movies. She was a simple decent person who is willing to help with his device and the things that happen just happen. The acting from her was lacking but the character is better written than Perry would’ve wrote in his earlier work.

As a whole, this was more of what you expect from Perry and definitely more but it didn’t make it any less watchable. It’s still broad and soapy as all get out but there’s some sense of growth as the story seemed to be tighter and less meandering than his other works. This movie though is aided by Taraji P. Henson and her broad but captivating performance as Melinda. Even though her younger counterpart is capable to sell the vulnerability the character needs to make the story work, Henson’s still very memorable. The script though can’t decide though if it wants me to totally love or hate Melinda for the person she is and the decision she makes. If she’s supposed to have her be an antihero of some kind, that would’ve been fine but nothing in the movie suggests that. Robert is not as evil as the movie tries to make him seem and it would’ve been nice to see a balance of these two people’s personalities. But, that goes out the window, at least on Melinda’s part, when Tyler Perry decides to turn this fully into the Lifetime movie that it always destined to be by the movie’s end, which is wrongheaded in so many ways but it needs to be seen to be believed. Despite the issues this movie has, it moves at a pretty decent pace and is always entertaining thanks to all the drama that’s set up no matter whatever logical leaps the movie asks of you to take. I didn’t make it too clear in the review but this movie is more insane than it lets on if you’ve just seen the trailer. This is mainly because it’s hard to verbalize what I witnessed on the big screen. This is a “needs to be seen to be believed” kind of movie because there’s so many scenes that will either make you laugh, shake your head in disbelief, facepalm, roll your eyes, leave your mouth agape, or a combination of those things. I was never bored because of it. Henson is always out of control and when the movie leans into her mindset, it works best and thankfully, it’s most of the movie. Because of all the insanity going on, it’s always very entertaining.

I am giving Tyler Perry’s Acrimony a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!

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