The title of the new Tyler Perry film, Acrimony, is one of the most searched words on Merriam Webster this month due to the anticipation of the film's release on Friday (March 30).
The dictionary defines Acrimony as meaning anger or bitterness. And in the flick, Taraji P. Henson is the crazy beautiful lead character telling the story of a woman scorned. Acrimony was shot in a mere eight days at Perry's studio in Atlanta, and he says that it is his favorite to date. Regarding the project, Taraji compared her character to Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction:
"It's about what happens when the love is lost, when you lose your security in the relationship. Funds, money. There's stress, when you're married and there's no money coming in. What happens when you want that relationship back, but you can't get it back?"
The movie follows the life of Taraji's character, Melinda, who at the beginning of the film is a hopeful college student who falls in love. She later creates a life with a husband, played by She's Gotta Have It's Lyriq Bent, and becomes the sole breadwinner in their household, acting as his support system while he pursued his dream.
After 18 years, the marriage reaches a point of failure and they divorce. Later, he becomes wildly successful, and she feels betrayed. After taking care of her ex-husband for nearly two decades, he goes on to create a life of wealth and happiness without her and it causes Melinda to go off the deep end.
Love conquers all, except for when it doesn't.
As women of color, we're always told to "stand by our man" through everything, even if we don't appear to be evenly yoked, no matter how much wrong he does. We are expected to stand by and help our man pick up the pieces. When and if the relationship ends, we are left feeling robbed of our own pieces, full of resentment and ready to slap a b*tch.
There is a Melinda that lives inside of all of us, when and if provoked. We think to ourselves, Don't I deserve something for my time, my energy, and the love I offered you? Taraji said that Melinda is an example of all of the sh*t she would have done if she wasn't scared to go to jail. Don't be bougie, we've all been there.
Acrimony/Tyler Perry Studios
"Love makes you do crazy things," she said on the Today Show. "It's all the things I wish I could have done but hadn't acted on."
College was a rough ride for me. I was miles away from family but I had finally made a home for myself with my then-boyfriend, who was an "artist." When we got into a relationship, he decided not to go into the navy, a choice that he always blamed on me. He was very talented but had no clue what he was going to do with his life.
Thank God he met me.
I filled out every grant and scholarship application there was trying to get him into college, and he was never grateful and I was always mad. As the time went on and I focused on him, my senior year of college passed me by. I missed Homecoming, I never pledged, and I have no memories with my classmates because I was focused on helping him.
I turned down post-graduate internships, avoided applying for jobs in places that were too far out of his comfort zone, and put my dream on the backburner for what I thought was best for us. Fast forward three years, and he's a barber or some sh*t and we're not even together. He never wanted to go to college. And everything that I did for him, I realize now, I was only doing for myself.
Melinda is a symbol of the rage and animosity that women hide so well underneath our kind smiles and encouraging words. As women of color, we often take it upon ourselves to nurture and care for the ones that we love more than we do ourselves. This often leaves us betrayed. Especially when that energy isn't reciprocated. Even more so when that man leaves you and he's left better than you found him, while you're left half-filled, half-loved, and all the way broken.
As much as I wanted to drive up to where he was and bust all the windows out of his car for all of the time, energy, and love that I wasted on him, I understand now that it's much easier for me to just let that sh*t go. I sleep a lot better at night having done that.
Acrimony is a testament to the sheer beauty of letting sh*t go. The truth about life and love is that you're bound to get hurt, and want to hurt somebody, but you must remember that your dignity depends on the release of that hurt.
But for those of us who haven't let it go completely yet, we can definitely live vicariously through Melinda and bust some windows. Metaphorically of course. Watch the trailer for the movie, slated to premiere March 30, below.