By Khaleel Herbert
Tyler Perry takes his filmmaking to obsessive lengths with “Acrimony.”
When devoted wife, Melinda (Taraji P. Henson), is sent to anger management, she recounts her 18-year love life with ex-husband Robert (Lyriq Bent) that includes sacrifice, doubt and infidelity. In college, they meet in the rain, (hence, why Mel says she can’t stand the rain). Robert offers to help her with a paper for one of her classes
When her mother dies, Robert visits her to offer comfort (which turns into a hanky panky when they’re alone in his RV). Robert tells Mel his dream of making a rechargeable battery that could power cars and houses. He hopes to take the plan to a local company. As Mel falls deeper and deeper in love with Robert, she invests in his dream with the money her mother left her (350 grand). Her older sisters (Jazmyn Simon and Ptosha Storey) advise against it. But through thick and thin, Mel and Robert stay together and tie the knot.
Eighteen years pass. Mel is working two jobs, while Robert is still trying to get his battery off the ground. The company that he kept sending pitches to has a restraining order against him. Since Mel is sterile, they have no children. Tensions rise when Robert runs into Diana (Crystle Stewart) an old flame from college before he married Mel. Mel has suspicions that he’s cheating on her and as her suspicions deepen, her sanity is pushed to its limits.
Henson plays the hell out of her role. Like Lynn Whitfield’s Brandi in “A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,” Melinda has worked hard to support her man. But he still disappoints her and it hurts her heart, especially when she invested all of her money to help him. When things finally go right for Robert, he shares that success with another woman…so Mel wants to get her satisfaction by any means necessary.
“Acrimony” has a story that keeps you invested. We see Henson talking to the therapist (and we never see the therapist’s face, but we hear her voice) and she tells her story in one big vivid flashback, similar to a technique used in “Forrest Gump.” There are times in the second act where the story lags. But it picks up by the third act, specifically where Melinda becomes as unhinged as Beyoncé swinging that baseball bat in her “Hold Up” music video. Not even her sisters and best friend can talk her down from the ledge of insanity.
Tyler Perry steps away from Madea’s comical adventures into a dramatic thriller that allows Taraji P. Henson to steal the show and reach her full acting potential, an award-winning performance.
Studio: Tyler Perry Studios (2hr.)
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Crystle Stewart, Jazmyn Simon, Ptosha Storey, Danielle Nicolet, Kendrick Cross, Nelson Estevez
Director: Tyler Perry
Story: When a devoted wife believes her husband is unfaithful, her sanity becomes unhinged.
Final Score: B+