Acrimony: A story told one-time too many

“Acrimony” is based on a love and betrayal plot. The film by Tyler Perry stars Taraji P. Henson as Melinda Gayle and Lyriq Bent as Robert Gayle. It’s essentially about ‘a gold-digging’ Africa-American husband but this story has been told one time too many.

Melinda met her husband, Robert, as an undergraduate. Despite the red flags, Melinda disregards her sisters’ advice and marries Robert.

Robert refuses to get a job in the hope of getting an investor for his invention, a self-charging battery, while Melinda slaves away working two jobs to pay their bills. After 18 years, Robert has successfully squandered Melinda’s inheritance and he still has no break.

Robert had had an affair with Diana Wells (Crystle Stewart) while they were undergrads in college. Diana is now a successful executive at Prescott where Robert had been trying to secure an investment for his battery. As a result, Robert and Diana’s paths cross once again.

At the same time, Robert is unable meet the mortgage payments for Melinda’s mothers house where they live and they end up homeless.  Amid this financial mess, Melinda suspects that Robert is seeing Diana again and files for a divorce.

As one would predict, Diana helps Robert secure a huge investment for his battery and his fortunes change. He pays off Melinda and gets married to Diana, leaving Melinda “acrimonious”.

The promotional poster for the movie read: ‘Hell hath no fury’… suggesting that Melinda is scorned. On the contrary, Melinda’s anger is the result of her regret and not Robert’s betrayal. So to suggest that she is a ‘scorned woman’ is questionable especially given Robert’s restitution. He bought her mothers house which they lost to the mortgage back and handed Melinda the keys with a cheque worth 10 times every dime she spent on him.

After the handing back did Robert have a right to move on with his life? Absolutely, notwithstanding how quickly he remarried, after all it was Melinda who divorced him.

Did Melinda have a right to want him back? Unfortunately not, despite that she still loved him and hard as it might have hurt to see Diana ‘living her life’ as she puts it.

The movie also fell short of delivering fury except for the scene in which the teenage Melinda Gayle played by Ajiona Alexus (also young Cookie in Empire) caught Robert with his pants down. In the latter scenes, Melinda is more deranged than enraged. And for a psychological thriller, “Acrimony” gave no chills.

Acrimony turned out to be another highly predictable movie although it has some good moral lessons like, anger can lead to destruction. It also highlights the dangers of overtly living our lives on social media – Melinda’s jealousy is fueled by the pictures and videos which Robert and Diana share on social media. Still revenge is inconsistent with the storyline.

The warning signs of a ‘potentially bad husband’ is another good lesson for young girls. However, one might also suggest that the movie doesn’t inspire young girls. A ‘laid-back’ Robert becomes the hero who finds fortune in the end. Meanwhile, the ‘high-flying’ Diana – who was honourable enough to walk away from Robert when she realised he had a girlfriend – was only rewarded with marriage because she was connected and helped Robert land a lucrative deal.

What if the script was flipped just a little such that Diana never lent Robert a helping hand? What if Robert’s break never came?

Perhaps the “Acrimony” would have been less predictable, and young girls could have been be taught lessons about self-love, self-confidence and strength.


Directed by: Tyler Perry

Cast includes; Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Ajiona Alexus, Crystle Stewart, Antonio Madison, Danielle Nicolet, Jazmyn Simon, Jason Vail and Ptosha Storey, Jay Hunter and Terayle Hill.

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About the author

A lover of the arts who sees film and television through the prism of the Nigerian viewer.