Spoiler Alert: This review may contain details that some may view as giving away too much of the storyline.
Kudos to Tyler Perry for unintentionally–or intentionally–putting the spotlight on mental health issues among Black females. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony is part-suspense, part-thriller, with a sprinkle of humor here and there. Although it drags at some points, and potentially leaves the viewer confused, upon reflection there is much to be learned, and I personally hope Mr. Perry continues teaching through film in this way. Acrimony is not as obvious as Mr. Perry’s typical films. This new style may take a bit getting used to for some viewers, but the value is there.
Perry requires the viewer to put their thinking caps on. You may learn the following lessons upon doing so.
- First impressions. According to the late, great Dr. Maya Angelou, “When people tell you who they are, believe them!” Tyler Perry’s Acrimonylends credence to this adage. The object of the main character’s desire gets a glimpse of her tendencies when they first meet, yet he continues to pursue a relationship with her.
- Make your own decisions about your relationships. Part of the reason the main character decides to end her relationship is due to pressure from her family. She then ends up hurt when her ex-husband’s new wife ends up reaping the benefit of his success. Here’s where there seems to be some disagreement about the turn the film should have taken: Some feel Taraji P. Henson’s character was reasonably upset over her “loss.” I disagree: There was actually no evidence that the ex-husband was ever guilty of the behaviors that are insinuated throughout the first half of the film. Henson’s character is entitled to nothing. She loses fair and square. I guess the question is: How long do you support a spouse’s dream?
- Resolve mental health issues.All throughout the film, the main character’s family made reference to her anger issues. She does not get therapy until she is ordered to do so. The main character’s unresolved issues, and other people’s unwillingness to intervene, cause her and others to get hurt.
- Borderline Personality Disorder(BPD) may be prevalent among Black females.There is already research that indicates that BPD is disproportionally experienced by females, but one wonders if BPD is disproportionately experienced by Black females. It makes sense when you look at the symptoms against the backdrop of what many Black females tend to experience. BPD is thought to be prevalent among people who experience loss, abuse and neglect. It is a well-known fact that Blacks, irrespective of class, tend to have more experiences with loss, abuse and neglect than others. Dare I say: These experiences are more likely to be doubled for us, because we seem to have developed an uncanny knack/proclivity (thanks to the Enslavement Process) for hurting each other.
Let’s look at a few of the symptoms. The symptoms listed below are not an exhausted list. This blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any mental health illness. The goal of this blog is to encourage self-examination and critical analysis.
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self. The sense of entitlement some females have concerning other females’ conduct towards them comes to mind: Females getting upset when another female does not greet them. For example, some females(1) get upset when another female does not “speak” to them. The offended female usually will not admit that she herself hasn’t “spoken” and is waiting for the victim of her ire to “speak” first. This accusation is code for: “She won’t tell me her business” or “How am I supposed to verify that she is just as miserable as me if she doesn’t even say ‘Hi'” or “She’s not friendly enough for my ego. I need more.” See: Some “females” think they are entitled to information about others, but the desire for this information is usually sinister. See the “Chickenheads” page of this blog for more on this tendency. My guess is this comes from a lack of affection during childhood. Pure and simple: Hugs and kisses validate a person. Affection makes a person feel wanted. When children are denied affection, they grow up seeking it from other people and sources. The anger from being denied it morphs into a sense of entitlement. The main character experiences the loss of her mother at a young age and likely does not have the support of a father, as one is not mentioned. The loss of a caregiver typically has an adverse impact on a person’s sense of self.
In Acrimony, the main character thought she was entitled to her ex-husband’s fortune even though she had ended the marriage. She thought her ex-husband’s new wife was living the life she, Taraji P. Henson’s character, was supposed to have.
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating. Please note: If these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder—not borderline personality disorder. The birth rates in our communities, evidenced by over-crowded inner-city schools, and the weight issues that often plague Black females, may be evidence of this.
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger.For example, it is inappropriate for a person to be upset about someone not “speaking” to them when another person’s greeting or conversation is not owed.
This blog post is not intended to suggest that all Black females are crazy. It is meant to encourage critical observation, critical thought and change.
(1) The term “woman” and “women” are used sparingly, as a reference to humans with female genitalia who have shown through their conduct that they are fully (emotionally, socially and psychologically) evolved. When describing unevolved behavior and people, the term “female” is used.