By Mwabi Kaira

When I saw the trailer for Tyler Perry’s Acrimony starring Taraji P. Henson, I didn’t immediately want to call up my girls and make a movie date. The trailer showed a woman scorned and out for revenge and that’s just not something that appeals to me. I’m one of those people who takes the Iyanla Vanzant Fix My Life approach to things like this. I prefer the ‘work on myself’ approach while sending the one who wronged me love and light believing that karma always works. But when I listened to Tyler Perry on the Essence Yes Girl podcast and he said there was a twist in the movie, and I saw some status updates saying that the movie wasn’t like the trailer, I decided to go and see it for myself.

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Taraji

The first half of the movie is a court ordered anger management session with Melinda (Taraji P. Henson) recalling how she fell for Robert (Lyriq Bent) as a college student. Her sisters see red flags from the start but Melinda ignores them because of love and marries Robert without them present. Melinda inherits a sum of money and the family house after her mother’s death and the money goes into supporting Robert’s dream of inventing a self-charging battery. Watching all of this was not alarming and I was actually enjoying the movie because let’s face it, a lot of people marry people their family don’t like and foolishly spend money instead of saving it. A lot of people are in marriages that have a lot of love at the beginning that turn into monotony and friendship twenty years in.

The movie did have me wondering exactly how long a partner is supposed to support a dream and why dreamers can’t work regular jobs while they wait for their dream to happen. Melinda worked several jobs while Robert worked his dream at his workstation in the house. See, this is where I agreed with Melinda’s sisters because third shift jobs exist for a reason and I cannot imagine working multiple jobs while my husband doesn’t work. I’m not a dream killer, but I need you to hold up your financial obligation to the marriage while you work your dream for twenty years. Things eventually blow up when Robert doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain with Melinda’s family and his actions could lead them to lose their family business. Robert chooses his dream over the family and Melinda finally has enough and files for divorce.

Robert finds an ally in Diana (the girl he cheated on Melinda with in college) and before long his self-charging battery is bought for 75 million dollars. Robert shows up to Melinda’s job with a 10 million dollar check, some flowers and an apology. Melinda gets more money than she ever imagined and the keys to her mother’s house back. You would think this would be enough. But suddenly she is consumed with rage for everyone and starts lashing out. This made no sense at all to me. Robert has moved on with Diana and Melinda focuses her rage on her specifically because Diana is living the life Melinda worked for.

Taraji & Lyriq

Tyler Perry loses me all the way. Is this the plot twist? I’m mad at reading the status updates because here I am at the movies watching the trailer I didn’t like. Acrimony was a good idea but the second half of the movie didn’t fully feel flushed out and just further pushed the crazy black woman narrative. It would have been so much better to see a movie about a black couple working a dream together and it coming to pass despite all the trials and tribulations. All the key ingredients were present for Tyler Perry’s Acrimony to be a great piece of cinema, but they weren’t mixed in a way that made sense. I’d rate it a C.

Have you seen Acrimony? Will you? Share your thoughts!

Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world. She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993. Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy. She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon. Keep up with her athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com/

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