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Movie Review

So, maybe in retrospect, Robert Gayle could've done a few things better.

Like, there was that time he hinted to his college girlfriend, Melinda—who just recently lost her mother—that she should buy him a car with part of her inheritance. Which she did. Yeah, maybe he shouldn't have done that.

And then there's the college tuition. Maybe he shouldn't have hinted that Melinda pay that, too.

And yes, cheating on Melinda with some nameless floozy was probably, in hindsight, not the best decision.

And once he and Melinda married in spite of it all, perhaps Robert could've mentioned that he technically committed a felony sometime in his distant past. It hardly seemed worth mentioning before, but it has made getting a job a little difficult.

But who has time for a job anyway? Robert sure doesn't. He's got a battery to work on—not just any battery, but a battery that recharges itself! Why, it could revolutionize the world … if he could get it to work. And if it would stop blowing out power to the entire house. And if he could get the prototype in the hands of someone who, y'know, might pay him millions of dollars for it.

Yes, Robert's whole life has been all about the battery, and all the sacrifices he's made have been to (ahem) jump-start his dream. It's Melinda's dream, too. Or, at least, Robert thinks it is. She's stuck with him through thick and thin. Every dime they've—well, she's—spent, they've sunk into that battery.

These mistakes weren't really mistakes at all: just investments. (Well, except for the cheating thing.)

He's not too worried about that second mortgage that Melinda had to take out on their house. Once his invention hits, he'll pay that off, no problem. He's grateful that Melinda's sisters gave him a job, too. It's not really his fault that he lost it right away. He had a meeting! With a high-powered corporate executive! Can't expect to turn down that sort of opportunity, can you?

But when said corporate exec offers him almost a million dollars to sign over the rights to the battery … well, that is an opportunity Robert turns down. The bills can wait. The bank won't foreclose on the house tomorrow. (Next week, maybe, but not tomorrow.) No, he's going to hold out for an offer that does his invention justice.

Yes, he's made some mistakes, but Melinda's been with him through them all. And once his battery hits, all the negatives will wash away and it'll just be a positive charge from here on out, baby. Just a little while longer …

Oh, hey. Are those divorce papers you're holding?

[Note: Spoilers are contained in the following sections.]

Positive Elements

The characters in Tyler Perry's movies can often feel a bit melodramatic—pure-in-heart do-gooders or mustache-twirling villains or, well, Madea. Acrimony still has plenty of melodrama, but the characters have a little more variation to them. A little more nuance.

For almost two decades, Melinda has given her husband everything she could possibly give and then some. She embraced the "for better or for worse" clause in her marriage vows, even though her marriage was a whole lot more "worse" than she bargained for. She believed the best of her husband, even when her sisters were telling her he was the worst.

Turns out, she was right for all those years (even after she loses faith herself). Yes, Robert used her money, and he did indeed cheat on her (though, for what it's worth, before they got married). But he wasn't a con man, as Melinda's sisters assumed he was. He was an inventor with a spectacular invention—one that eventually made both of them rich.

Alas, that payoff comes too late to save their marriage, but Robert tries to pay her back for her love and support anyway—handing her a $10 million check and the keys to her family home (which had been repossessed by the bank shortly after she and Robert divorced). Robert tells Melinda, truthfully, that he always loved her, and in a way always will.

Spiritual Content

When Robert learns that Diana—the same "nameless floozy" with whom he cheated in college—now works for the corporation he's been courting for years, Robert sees the hand of God in it. (Diana, for her part, says that God had nothing to do with it.)

Someone says a singer's voice sounds like "being in church." Melinda recalls how attractive Robert was to her when they first met. "The devil sure knows how to put a package together," she suggests. Melinda threatens Robert, saying that she can be the "devil." We see a picture of Jesus hanging on a wall. Melinda and Robert marry in a church. Robert gets married a second time, also by a pastor.

Sexual Content

We see Robert and a woman having sex in a shower. His bare backside faces the camera, and we glimpse the couple's movements through a shower's glass door. Later, Melinda imagines them in bed, spooning.

Robert is naked a second time—this time getting into a bathtub—and we see him from the side. (Frontal nudity is avoided, however.) When Robert and Melinda are having marital issues, Melinda mentions that the two of them haven't had sex for months: Melinda speculates that, given how sexual Robert is, he must be cheating on her. (He's not, though something happens that seems to confirm Melinda's worst suspicions.) When Melinda tries to reunite with Robert, though the two of them are divorced, she opens her coat to reveal a lacy bra underneath.

Before Melinda's divorce is final, she has sex with an old boyfriend (we see sexual movements in a bed, both bodies strategically covered, but dismisses his lovemaking prowess (and later says something insulting about his anatomy). We learn that Robert and his new fiancée, post-Melinda, are expecting a child. One of Melinda's sisters married a man who apparently fathered a baby by another woman (which is mentioned in passing). We see a woman in a very revealing bikini (though the lower half of the woman is also draped in a gauzy cover).

We learn that Melinda lost her virginity to Robert: We see them kiss in Robert's trailer (where he lives), and she leads him into his bedroom where they presumably get intimate. One of Melinda's sisters bluntly asks her if they're having sex. Melinda, tellingly, does not answer.

When Melinda and Robert are both still in college, Melinda drives to Robert's trailer to confirm that he's cheating on her. She sees a female hand pressed against a window, apparently in the throes of passion, confirming Melinda's suspicions. And that seamlessly leads to … well, the content section below.

Violent Content

When Melinda sees that hand against the trailer window, something snaps: She rams her Jeep into the trailer twice, eventually tipping the thing over. (Both Robert and the woman he's with run out in their skivvies.) Melinda actually suffers almost as much as the trailer, though: The collision forces Melinda into the steering wheel, causing lots of internal bleeding and, we're told, destroying her ovaries (and her dreams of having children). She faints and is rushed to the hospital.

Call it a sign of things to come. When things go south for Robert and Melinda, things go south dramatically. She attacks—or tries to attack—Robert several times, with friends and family needing to pull her away from or, in one case, pull her off of her one-time love. When she learns that Robert is getting married again, Melinda turns her rage on the other woman: She sneaks into the bride-to-be's wedding boutique and pours acid on the wedding dress, ruining it. Melinda spends countless hours combing through the woman's social media posts, responding in nasty and even threatening ways. ("This is America," she later tells a judge. "I have freedom of speech.") When concerned relatives go into her house, they find pictures of Robert's fiancée with her eyes crossed out.

All this culminates, somehow, on Robert's new yacht. Someone gets shot in the gut and apparently suffers an ax blow. The person staggers around the boat, bleeding profusely. Another person gets feet tangled up in the chains of a sinking anchor, sending the person to the watery depths. Others either jump from the ship or are pushed.

Crude or Profane Language

About 20 f-words and another 20 s-words. We also hear lots of uses of "a--," "b--ch," "b--tard," "d--n," "h---" and "p-ssed." God's name is misused about seven times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Melinda smokes on occasion. Also, as she grows increasingly unhinged, she seems to drink quite a bit, too. Her house is littered with old beer and liquor bottles. One of Melinda's sisters serves champagne to celebrate Melinda's divorce. (Melinda is served the bubbly, but seems disinterested in drinking it.) Wine is served with a fancy dinner.

Other Negative Elements

Robert, as mentioned, doesn't tell Melinda about his past criminal record—one he began and apparently ended when he was 15.

Conclusion

Acrimony starts off as an overly lusty, profane but otherwise-typical Tyler Perry melodrama. But before the credits roll, Acrimony boards an express train to Crazyville.

Not that Perry's films are known for their painstaking adhesion to reality. And even this outlandish film has, as is typical in Tyler Perry movies, a moral of sorts: Sometimes people really aren't as bad as they seem, we're told. Sometimes, you should give folks the benefit of the doubt—especially if you happen to be married to them.

But for the most part, Acrimony is a salacious, unhinged, Shakespeare-like tragedy: Othello without the depth or lyrical Elizabethan language but with plenty of f-words, bare behinds and a swinging ax or two.

Give this movie credit for at least naming itself well: Acrimony is pretty much what I felt after leaving it.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Drama

Author

Cast

Taraji P. Henson as Melinda; Lyriq Bent as Robert; Crystle Stewart as Diana; Jazmyn Simon as June; Ptosha Storey as Brenda; Danielle Nicolet as Sarah; Nelson Estevez as Casey; Kendrick Cross as Kalvin; Jay Hunter as Devon; Ajiona Alexus as Young Melinda; Antonio Madison as Young Robert; Shavon Kirksey as Young Diana; Racquel Bianca John as Young June; Bresha Webb as Young Brenda; Angelique Valentine as Young Sarah

Director

Tyler Perry ( )

Distributor

Lionsgate

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

March 30, 2018

On Video

June 26, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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