Acrimony Linda Hayles.png

Ahhh...  The long awaited movie, Tyler Perry's Acrimony. There were many lessons in this movie. None, I believe, Tyler Perry expanded on. Before we go on, please understand I am NOT a movie reviewer.  lol  But for real.  

As a psych major I must tell you that Tyler Perry DID NOT hit the mark with his movie Acrimony. This movies completely dismissed MENTAL ILLNESS and in the end the "evil" character gets what's coming to her. But it's her mental illness that blows everything out of proportion and neither her sisters or friends GOT HER HELP.  

Melinda, played by Taraji Henson, is narrating the story at a therapist's office, (which a judge ordered her to attend as part of a sentence that will keep her out of jail for stalking her ex-husband and fiancee). From the beginning she's telling a story that seems a bit off from what really happens.  This form of story telling where she twists facts out of proportion is a form of "gaslighting". Her story sounds true because it's full of facts that DID happen! They just weren't the way she says. So, to be clear that is LYING. Telling stories that are sprinkled with truth is LYING. Just because you put facts in your story doesn't make the story true.

However, Melinda admits several times that she does have an explosive way of dealing with her anger and everyone knows "she's crazy". In another scene she makes an attempt to own her behavior but it's more like bragging. She talks about "her crazy" like she's proud of it.

Throughout her narration of events, any time the therapist asks her a question about her behavior, Melinda gets very defensive, unwilling to see if or how she caused or helped to cause any of this. She's also a chainsmoker. Not a good coping skill for stress. 

Melinda's mom dies and leaves her a house with no mortgage note and $350,000. Soon after her mom's death Melinda buys Robert a car and pays cash for it. Soon after that, Robert goes several days without calling her so after dinner she drives to Robert's (her then boyfriend who later she marries), place only to confirm that Robert was cheating on her. Robert lived in a trailer. Melinda is so enraged that she backs up her Jeep Wrangler and rams it into the trailer several times. The trailer tips over and as she's arguing outside with Robert she passes out. In the next scene she's having surgery because the impact caused her ovaries to rupture and have internal bleeding. This leads to a full hysterectomy at such a young age. 

Melinda actually marries Robert. Her sisters do not attend the wedding. Robert has dreams of that an invention he's been working on since college, will one day make them rich. He sells her on his dreams. He talks about buying a penthouse, a yacht named after her and a beautiful wedding ring (because Robert proposed with a fake ring).

The years pass and Robert never holds a job. After his college graduation, (she paid $74,000 for his last 2 semesters), he goes on three job interviews that could have yielded 6 figure incomes but when he doesn't get any of the jobs, he admits to Melinda that he committed a crime in a gang when he was 15 and he was tried as an adult. He says he hoped it would have fallen off his record but it didn't. This is his "excuse", I mean reason... and he never goes out to look for work again. He stays at home and slowly his dream drains the $350,000 Melinda's mom left her. After all the money is depleted, he talks Melinda into mortgaging the house. This is the house her mom left her and the one they've been living in. Melinda takes on two jobs because she doesn't want her sisters to know that they're in trouble financially. 

Later in the movie, Melinda files for divorce under an allegation of cheating. Melinda's sister found a woman's wallet in his work truck but it really wasn't that at all. However, it just happens to be the same girl he cheated with when they were in college. THIS adds fuel to Melinda'a anger and well... You'll really have to watch the movie to see how this all plays out. 

This movie reminded me of Tyler's other movie, Why Did I Get Married Too, where Janet Jackson's shows up acting deranged and enraged at her soon to be ex-husbands's job (over money). This makes him leave the building and as he's leaving in desperation trying to get away from her... A truck hits his car and he dies. Janet NEEDED HELP!

Taraji's character needed help! Melinda and Robert had a co-dependent relationship. Melinda is not formally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but when the therapist asks her if she's ever heard of it, she curses at her and tells her she ain't crazy then gets up and leaves. 

Melinda divorces Robert in a mediation hearing where he shows up late because he doesn't have a car. With tears in his eyes he tells her he loves, he says he didn't cheat on her, (which he didn't) and asks that she look at him. But she closes her eyes and doesn't even acknowledge him.

Soon after their divorce Robert's life changes when his invention takes off and he receives a $75,000,000 check.  He shows up to her job with roses and thanks her for loving him and believing in him. He hands her a $10,000,000 check and the keys to her mom's house, which they lost in foreclosure and he went and bought it back for her. 

He then gets engaged and Melinda stalks him and the new woman on social media. Melinda becomes enraged every time they post new pictures of the life that she believes should have been hers and her rage drives her until the end of the movie.

The grand opening of this movie was yesterday, Friday, March 30th. Today, Saturday I woke up to many Facebook posts where Black women are applauding Robert for never giving up on his dream. My jaw hit the ground that none of the ladies complained that Robert didn't work for 18 years while pursuing his dream WITH MELINDA'S MONEY. 

There are so many things wrong with this!

Why is Tyler Perry gun-ho about portraying Black women the way he does?

Diary of A Mad Black Woman
Why Did I Get Married
For Colored Girls
The Single Moms Club
The Family That Preys

So, in case you got "lost in the sauce" while reading this blog here are my points:

  • Melinda had unresolved anger issues.
  • Melinda had undiagnosed mental illness.
  • Melinda NEVER took responsibility for her own "pimping" or being used by Robert
  • Melinda had NO BOUNDARIES. She NEVER enforced ANY.
  • Because of this she SETTLED for Robert who spoke wonderfully but his actions didn't align with his words.
  • Because she had no standards for herself she didn't set any for Robert, as in asking him to look for a job, felony on his record or not. 
  • Melinda didn't know how to communicate.
  • Melinda had low self worth though her inflated sense of self made her appear to have high self worth... She had high self esteem which was all smoke and mirrors.
  • Melinda lived in state of denial. About herself and about Robert and alienated herself and Robert from her sisters so they wouldn't really see what was going on. 
  • Melinda painted ONLY the picture she wanted her sisters to believe just like she did at the therapist's office. 
  • Robert felt "entitled".
  • Robert made excuses.
  • Robert was a manipulator.
  • Robert didn't want to WORK to help finance his OWN DREAM.
  • Robert didn't attempt to even make this a marriage. However, he enjoyed the benefits of her money.
  • Robert didn't know how to juggle priorities so every time Melinda was mad he would beg her not to give up on him now.
  • Robert wanted Melinda to "defend" him to her sisters but there was no defending him. He really was everything her sisters said he was.
  • But also, it was beneficial for Melinda's sisters not to like him. That way they wouldn't want to come over to see the extent of her ENABLING him. 
  • The only thing Robert was committed to was his invention. (but at his wife's expense).
  • In some way Robert also had low self worth. I mean, he wasn't being a man.
  • Robert's mom died when he was young. His father was in prison. So I'll safely assume that he had mommy issues and was looking for someone to fill that role. And he certainly didn't have a male role model in his life to teach him how to be a man.
  • Perhaps, Melinda not having a standard for Robert to get a job was not a favor or supportive to Robert but more of an emasculation. Melinda's sisters definitely emasculated him anytime they could. We can see when he starts to make money how he changes and starts acting like a "man" by buying a the penthouse, car,  buys his fiancee a yacht and how he dresses changes. 

What was unique or different about this movie was that the borderline personality character was played by a woman and not a man as most movies do. I thought that was a cool spin to the story.

However, this movie left me wanting more. I went expecting a THRILLER. But it didn't pack a punch for me. But it was what you'd expect from Tyler Perry. He doesn't deviate much from his style at all. It's like once you've seen one of his movies, you have seen them all.

However, most people love Tyler Perry's movies and if that's you then you will enjoy this movie. It is entertaining. Heck, I went to see it! lol But I always hold out hope that Tyler will bring the story full circle... But he doesn't and that's sad to me because Tyler is so respected in the Black community. He's a great example of what pursuing your passion looks like! He persisted when he was broke, sleeping in his car and no one showed up to his plays. He's a decent and wonderful human being. But even in his personal life, HE DID NOT MARRY his son's mom. He's out here perpetuating the unmarried mom cycle.

And so many of my clients are Black women who are looking to get married and who are so jaded that there are no "good Black men". And I just think Tyler Perry has THE ENTIRE PLATFORM wide open for him to affect REAL CHANGE and INFLUENCE the Black community and I think he doesn't really do that. He monetizes his craft with his people of color but doesn't help change the landscape.

Many of my clients, (of all races and ethnicities) saying that they intimidate men, that they're too independent. Some attract and keep men like Robert in the movie. They enable their own victimization and others emasculate men and when those men leave them they say those men are intimidated. Others have real issues that I can't coach them out of and I recommend THERAPY. 

Long story short, I was blow away at how many women overlooked how Melinda enabled Robert and her own victimization. They overlooked her lack of boundaries and standards. They overlooked her denial and alienation. They were entertained and high five-ing their friends in the theater. And yes... I know this is just a movie, but this movie validates what my purpose on earth and what I teach.

I teach women to pay attention to THE BEHAVIORS THEY ARE DOING that they think are good and are helping them prove to a man how good of woman they are when in fact those behaviors are backfiring and working against them. Those behaviors SCREAM that they don't have boundaries, don't set and enforce any. They are people pleasers and because of that they SETTLE in love and it stems from low self worth regardless of how many degrees she has, how much she money makes, where she lives and what she drives. And it's the reason they can't seem to "attract a good man". 

I want to tell you that this movie is so real. That's why so many women could relate. Isn't it time you learned a new roadmap to attract the relationship and opportunities YOU LOVE into your life? YOU CHOOSE. You are responsible for your life. No one does anything to you that you won't tolerate. 

Copy my email address and write me about your situation. I PROMISE you, you are not alone and you CAN get DIFFERENT RESULTS in love and life but it starts with YOU. I love you! <3

hellolinda@lindahayles.com