Lana K. Wilson-Combs
If you think Taraji P. Henson
is fierce on the hit TV show “Empire,” wait until you see her in “Tyler Perry’s new, revenge thriller, “Acrimony.”
As expected, Perry who produced, wrote and directed “Acrimony,” goes for the jugular at every turn and gets the best from his cast that includes the sensational Lyriq Bent (TV’s “She’s Gotta Have It” and Ajiona Alexus (TV’s “Empire”).
When we first meet Melinda (Henson) she’s seated in a courtroom consumed with anger and staring into space as a judge admonishes her for failing to obey a restraining order from her ex-husband Robert (Bent).
Next, it’s on to her therapist meeting. Melinda explains the cause of her failed relationship and how it destroyed her life.
Things started out so promising too. Melinda (Ajiona Alexus playing the younger version of Henson) met Robert (Antonio Madison, TV’s “Greenleaf”) in college. Despite being from the wrong side of the tracks, he was a smart, chemical engineering student. She admired his drive and ambition. Robert introduced Melinda to not just great sex, but turned her on to other things like appreciating new music and singers like Nina Simone.
He tells Melinda that his invention of a self-charging battery will be a game changer and make him wealthy beyond belief.
Robert swears that when it does, he wants her to be part of that dream and his world. The goal is to sell his idea to the Prescott & Howard Technological Company, a corporate giant that’s created a lottery system that lures young, creative talent much like Robert.
Melinda believes in Robert and is seduced by his good looks and charm. So much so, that she helps him get his project started by tapping into the $350,000 that she inherited from her recently deceased mother. They wind up getting married and she even buys Robert a car. Love is not only blind, but downright foolish at times especially when Melinda finds out that Robert has been lying to her and she catches him with another woman (Shavon Kirksey, TV’s “The Crisis”).
They manage to work through that ordeal and Robert (now played by Bent) keeps plugging away with his pet project. He also continues to turn to Melinda to help him finance it.
Eventually he spends every dime of her money only to discover the Prescott company isn’t initially interested in his battery.
Now humiliated and broke, Melinda is left to pick up the pieces and tries to start over with a new guy she meets named DeVon (Jay Hunter, TV’s “If Loving You is Wrong”). He’s nice and all, but just doesn’t measure up like Robert did.
Wouldn’t you know that Robert finally gets his break with Prescott & Howard and he’s soon rolling in money. He arrives at Melinda’s job and hands her a check for $10 million along with the keys to his mother’s house that they lost in foreclosure.
It’s his way of saying how sorry he is for everything. Melinda also sees it as an opportunity to perhaps patch things up and start over with him. They do still love each other, much to the dismay of her family and friends.
When Melinda pays Robert a visit at his posh, penthouse apartment, she’s stunned to find Diana (now Crystle Stewart, TV’s “Too Close to Home”) there. Diana even gloats to Melinda about their upcoming wedding.
When Melinda hears that, she cranks up the crazy and goes after Robert and Diana with all her might.
Say what you want about Tyler Perry, but I like his unorthodox, soap opera, filmmaking style. Granted, his movies can be maddening at times, but they are never dull or boring thanks largely to the multi-faceted characters he employs and his skill at wrestling every ounce of drama from them. And make no mistake, Taraji P. Henson is what makes “Acrimony” soar. She’s outstanding.
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Take A Peek At This Trailer For "ACRIMONY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.