It’s your favorite small blogger, and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus. Who missed me?
A few days ago, I finally got the chance to watch Tyler Perry’s Acrimony and I couldn’t keep my comments to myself. Like the title suggests, the movie is all about Melinda’s (Tajari P. Henson) bitterness after a long term marriage with Robert, as the relationship drained her financially, physically, mentally and emotionally over the years.
The opening scene reveals Taraji’s character gazing out from the screen with an anger so cold that even the viewers can sense it. She gets so consumed with this rage that she can scarcely hear the judge when he gave her a restraining order and requested that she take anger management classes as her “stay out of jail” card.
We then see her in a therapist’s office, brooding and chain-smoking as she looks back on the relationship that, she believes, ruined her life.
Melinda met Robert at a point in her life when she was feeling unsure about school and her anger issues were hinted at in their first meeting but he must not have been paying attention, or maybe he was more intrigued because of it, because he still offered to help her study for a paper which she unfortunately scored an F in. The act closes on her being consoled by Robert, only for her sisters to come and break the news of her mother’s death to her.
Our first real introduction to the sisters’ part in the story was at the wake keep that was held for their mother; Melinda’s sisters tormented Robert with questions and snobbish remarks forcing him to leave, but she ran after him and offered to give him a ride home – which she found out later was just a trailer by the road side. On getting into the trailer and in the process of consoling each other, they ended up in bed together and Melinda lost her virginity to Robert.
Young and in love, Melinda later told Robert about the money her mother left her, which amounted to the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($350,000)
Subsequently, they went out on numerous dates, all of which she paid for, and one day he tacitly asked her to buy him a car. That should have been a warning sign for Melinda; because someone who doesn’t have a real house to live in shouldn’t be getting a car.
After she bought him the car, he pulled away from her and she caught him cheating one night when she drove by his trailer to confirm her suspicions. She in turn got upset and slammed her car into the trailer multiple times until it turned over and Robert and Diana (the lady he was cheating on Melinda with) had to climb out of the window. In her rage, she must have forgotten to fasten her seatbelt because she slammed her stomach into the steering wheel every time she hit the trailer, and after a surgery her womb had to be taken out at the age of 20.
After the incident, she mended her relationship with Robert against her sisters’ advice. Then a time came when Robert complained about the loss of his student loans and how he was going to be unable to pay for his last three semesters in college, and Melinda again offered to pay for everything. Not long after this, Robert proposed marriage to Melinda and she accepted again, against her sisters’ wishes, which led to them being absent at the wedding ceremony.
At this point, she knew that something was wrong but she couldn’t turn back. Maybe she felt lost and felt he was the only one that would accept her after having lost her womb, it could have also been that she was stuck on him because he was her first… You know what they say about firsts.
After marriage, Melinda took care of the finances while Robert went to school, then Robert graduated from college and Melinda had hopes that their financial situation would get better as he would finally be able to get a job and the prospect looked real because he had three interviews, but she was wrong because he had a criminal record (that he didn’t tell her about) and couldn’t get a job, and so everything remained the same.
The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. The characters all had their faults, except Melinda’s sisters’ husbands who just wanted to help, and maybe Melinda’s friend who strongly believed that he couldn’t have hurt her again by cheating. Knowing Melinda’s temperament, the sisters should have handled their suspicions better and even though they acted out of love, they ended ruining her marriage to Robert by telling her before they got enough evidence. Despite the fact that they were against the marriage initially and many bad things had happened, knowing their sister’s temperament and everything she had gone through, they should have known that she wouldn’t take the news of his cheating well. Sometimes good intentions are not enough, and things can get ruined even with the best of intentions. There are always better ways to handle every situation, so one has to be careful so as not to ruin something that a few changed words or actions could have solved. They should have tried to monitor her anger problems instead, after the incident with the trailer.
In the latter part of his marriage to Melinda, Robert comes off as a lazy and depressed mad scientist. And the effect is to shore up the suspicion that Melinda is waiting around for a pipe dream that’s destined not to happen. Robert keeps draining her finances (she’s forced to mortgage the home she inherited from her mother), and by sticking with him she appears to be colluding in the slow-motion destruction of her life. So can we really say that she’s been “betrayed”? Knowing the agreement he had with the sisters’ husbands and how dangerous it would be for their business if he didn’t make the delivery, Robert shouldn’t have turned the truck around when he got the call from Diana that he had a meeting with Prescott. I believe that the company would have respected him more if he had told them that he couldn’t make it because he was at work. By doing what he did, he further exposed himself as a selfish man who only thought about himself and his needs. He cost them their best client and almost cost them their trucks.
By giving Alice all the things he told Melinda that he would give her in all their eighteen years of marriage, Robert exposed himself as a weak and selfish man, but nobody can blame him because at least Diana could give him a child while Melinda never would- a fact that Diana had no qualms rubbing in Melinda’s face in the opening scene. Diana knew nothing about Robert’s and Melinda’s marriage, apart from what he told her, and that gave her no right to act condescendingly towards Melinda. Aren’t women supposed to stick together? Putting into consideration the toll the long years together with Robert had taken on Melinda, the least Diana could have done was show a little compassion. But I guess it’s understandable that she wanted to get rid of the “competition” the only way she knew how, considering what Melinda did to her wedding dress.
Melinda didn’t take care of her mental health and got lost in her love for Robert that she lost herself. She had as much fault in everything that happened as every other character and even more, because she was the only one that could have changed her situation if it wasn’t working for her. Her inability to show weakness at the right time ruined her and brought her to the very end. She missed the signs or maybe she just turned her mind away from them because she was in love and wanted desperately for it to work. With mental health issues, it is sometimes easy to let insecurities blind us to the reality of things, and this could have been what she was going through but nobody knew. During one of her sessions, the therapist suggested that she might have borderline personality disorder and she got angry, signifying denial which is never a good thing for someone living with a mental illness.
The shit hits the fan when her sisters report Robert’s alleged betrayal and she finally has had enough, leaves him and voila Robert’s life turns around and he becomes a changed man who is now dating someone. And so begins the acrimony. The hook of “Acrimony” is clear: The audience gets to see Taraji P. Henson go hog-wild with rage. And that happened, after Melinda gets divorced and learned that the woman who has replaced her (the same woman he cheated on her with many years before) will now reap the benefits (yacht, diamond ring, sky-view penthouse) that Melinda never got to enjoy in her marriage.
There’s so much more I have to say on this movie and the issues it addresses but some things are better left unsaid. However, it’s really sad that if only many things had been done differently, perhaps Melinda’s acrimony would have not driven her to the very end of her life.
If there’s anything you’ll like to add, please do so in the comments section.
Have a wonderful day, lovelies.
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