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Henson Shines In “Acrimony”

3 min read

Lionsgate & Tyler Perry Studios present Tyler Perry’s Acrimony which reunites Taraji P. Henson with director Tyler Perry for the third time The film opens up in a courtroom with Robert Gayle (Lyriq Bent) receiving a restraining order against his wife Melinda Gayle (Taraji P. Henson). In addition to the restraining order, Melinda is also ordered to undergo from the judge. From there Melinda tells her story and how over time her marriage to Robert became undone.

We then flashback to eighteen years prior when college age Melinda (Ajiona Alexus) & Robert (Antonio Madison) meet for the first time. Melinda is instantly smitten with Robert and over time he earns her trust. While dating, Robert makes the mistake of cheating on Melinda, which not only unleashes her wraith, but also soils any hope that Melinda’s family will ever accept him.

The couple do get married, and while Melinda supports Roberts’s dreams of selling a battery, she loses herself in the process. When we cut back to the adult Robert & Melinda, there marriage is clearly on thin ice, as they appear to be roommates as oppose to spouses.

The first act of Perry’s latest is standard Perry fare. Robert is made out to be a bad guy, while we root for Melinda. Sitting in the theater, all I could do was shake my head at some of the choices Robert made, and question why Melinda stayed with him. As the first act of Acrimony goes on, I began to understand Robert’s motivation more. When a man is chasing a dream, stubbornness can often get in the way, which is what happened in Robert’s case. I also felt for Melinda, as she sacrificed more then she should’ve for her husband.

When the two do end up divorcing, due to a bad judgment call on Robert’s part so he can continue his dream chasing, I felt for Robert, but I also I understood why Melinda had to let him go. It’s during the second half of the film, where the film takes a complete turn and Perry actually surprised me with the storytelling. The trailers for Acrimony, led me to believe the film would go one angle, but instead Perry decides to take it somewhere different in a sense.

Without going into spoilers. I personally felt that it was a wise decision.  The decisions that Robert decided to make in regards to his future, make sense, as does his decision regarding his relationship with Melinda.  With the angle that Perry decides to take, I’m sure that it will have couples debating well after they leave the theater. I commend Perry for going against the norm, and actually trying something different.

Henson & Bent both shine in their roles. As a married couple, both show the signs of a couple who has lost their way. Henson can walk through a role like Melinda, in her sleep. Perry knows how to get the best out of Henson, whether she’s portraying Melinda as scored, sexy or no-nonsense.

Bent is also good as Robert, and I hope he has a chance to get more leading rolls in the future. Robert’s arc from unfocused young adult to man child to working man is commendable. Bent portrays all three angles well and I hope to see more of him in the future.  The rest of the cast is pretty much on autopilot, since the film belongs Henson & Bent.

Perry is starting to improve as a writer and director which he shows in Acrimony.  Generally, I don’t take Perry’s films serious, and most are forgotten when I leave the theater. While I would’ve changed one or two things (including tightening the ending), I must admit that Acrimony which is Perry’s seventeenth film as a director is one of his better ones.

Final Grade: B+