A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Acrimony is a Tyler Perry-written and -directed drama about a doomed marriage in which one partner (Lyriq Bent) winds up making a fortune and the other (Taraji P. Henson) tries to get revenge. Violence includes a scene with a gun and shooting, an axe attack, some bloody wounds and blood sprays, and shouting/fighting. A character also crashes a car into an RV trailer. Sex scenes include thrusting and naked buttocks, as well as kissing. Language is very strong, with many uses of "motherf----r," "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bastard," and more. The main character smokes cigarettes, and an array of empty alcohol bottles is shown, although drinking isn't actually shown.
What's the story?
In ACRIMONY, Melinda (Taraji P. Henson) is on the receiving end of a restraining order filed by her ex-husband, Robert (Lyriq Bent). The court orders her into therapy, and her story unfolds in flashback. She meets Robert in college, and they quickly fall in love and marry; Melinda uses money from her mother's life insurance to finance his dream project, a self-charging battery. Years go by, and Melinda continues to support Robert, with no hope on the horizon. Their marriage disintegrates, partly due to the re-emergence of Diana (Crystle Stewart), a former flame of Robert's. After Melinda and Robert's divorce, Diana helps him sell his idea, and they become wealthy. But despite Robert paying Melinda a generous amount of money, she still believes that her life has been stolen from her -- and only revenge can quench her ferocious rage.
Is it any good?
This endless, crushingly serious drama explores a disintegrating marriage between two shallow, selfish partners, and then, for its ridiculous third act, it turns into an awful thriller. Writer/director Tyler Perry's Acrimony may have a highbrow-sounding title, but it nevertheless aims for the lowest common denominator. It has nothing to say except that people are pretty much fundamentally awful, and there's nothing to be done about it. Robert is a parasite who passively aggressively sucks the life out of Melinda, and she's a hateful, miserable woman, bent only on her own satisfaction.
Spending any time with these two would be a trial, but Perry asks us to sit for a full, painful two hours. Robert eventually makes a gesture that seems to come from genuine regret and kindness, but it doesn't go far as the ludicrous plot mechanisms kick in for the brain-dead finale. Henson is a fine actor, and she seems to have worked hard here, as have some of her co-stars, but unfortunately, their efforts are wasted in a movie that may leave viewers feeling hopeless and lousy. Not even the occasional music of Nina Simone helps to add any heart or soul.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Acrimony's use of violence. What's the difference between the main characters' fights and the more thriller-like use of weapons? In what ways did the different scenes affect you? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
How does the movie portray sex? What value does it seem to say that sex has within a relationship?
Is Melinda a strong female character? Is she in charge of her own fate? Is she a victim?
How would you describe the appeal of Tyler Perry's movies? How does this one compare to others you may have seen?
For kids who love thrillers and stories about women
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.