This weekend my mother and I went to see Tyler Perry’s new movie “Acrimony.”
I want to put a spoiler alert here to let you all know that I will be discussing the plot of the film because it is the best way for me to go in depth about my opinions. Many viewers are upset and fed up with Tyler Perry’s frequent “mad Black woman”storyline. When we see films that are representative of what is actually happening in our community we tend to call them an enemy of progress. We want movies to mirror the world we wish we lived in and that is just not realistic. I do agree that he has done many more films about scorned women than necessary, but I find them exhilarating.
Acrimony means bitterness or ill feeling. In other words, the best way to define the term is to call it resentment. Taraji P. Henson plays a loving wife who would do just about anything to support and encourage her husband of 18 years. For the past two decades her husband has manipulated her into spending more than $1 million of her inheritance money on him and his dreams. He is basically a handsome and charming bum. Through the course of their marriage she has lost herself completely. After having suspicions of infidelity and going into deep debt due to her investments on her husband, she finally decides to divorce him.
Her husband goes on to start a new life with a new woman and his business plans finally take off. Here we see a man who drained and took from a good woman just to enjoy the fruits of her labor with someone else.
As Black women, it is in our nature to give and pour from an empty cup and rarely do we receive anything in return. In “Acrimony,” the former husband did give Henson’s character back all of the money she had invested in him over the years before moving on with his lavish life. It was a fair gesture, but what some viewers may not understand is that no monetary reparations can make up for all that she lost over two decades. What he took from her was spiritual and caused extreme psychological damage. Women who have been manipulated, betrayed, and abandoned can understand that deep rooted pain.
The realization that she gave her whole life up for this man and he would go and be happy with someone else drove her into a downward spiral. It is understandable that viewers are tired of seeing this image, but what the film shows is the rage that we, as Black women, wish we could express. Ladies are you really going to tell me a man never had you heartbroken to the point where you nearly went crazy? Tell the truth, sis.
The truth is, hurt and pain can turn us into the worst versions of ourselves. The feeling of not being good enough can create a bitterness that drives a person to the point of no return. One thing I think we could take from this film is the importance of discussing mental health in the Black community as well. When Henson’s character gets to the point of anger or provocation she becomes a completely different person and can become completely consumed by her rage.
Another takeaway from this film is Henson’s character’s husband never physically harmed her, but manipulation in itself is mental abuse that we fail to acknowledge oftentimes.
In reality, none of us want to be alone so we try to take care of people who will never be as grateful as they should be for all that we do for them. Black women, we have to stop pouring from an empty cup. We desire to be loved and there are certainly men who are ready to love us, but the reality is that we cannot continue to exhaust ourselves giving more love than we get in return. In the words of Lauryn Hill, “Tell me who I have to be to get some reciprocity.”
Latisha Townsend is a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato majoring in Communications. She is the president of the student organization, Black Motivated Women. She can be contacted at Latisha.Townsend@mnsu.edu.