Tyler Perry’s Acrimony – Resentments and Symbolisms

source: imdb

In Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (2013), Melinda Gayle causes havoc on her ex-husband Robert Gayle when, after 18 years of supporting his dream, she becomes resentful. But when he makes it big and she’s not part of his life anymore, Melinda feels that her past sacrifices should be rewarded.

The saying goes that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. We know this to be true and witnessed through the ages. The most famous being Betty Broderick. Betty put her husband through law school only to have him step out on her with another woman. Once the degree is obtained, he leaves Betty and marries the said woman.

If you’ve seen the movie A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story (1992), you know what havoc Betty causes on Dan, her former husband, and his new wife, going so far as to shoot them while they sleep.

Melinda may not be scorned, in my opinion, but she is resentful. Very resentful. And her sharp and bitter hatred towards Robert is made apparent.

LET’S START AT THE END, SHALL WE

The movie opens with Melinda in court for stalking Robert and his current wife, Diana. She has been given a restraining order and required to get anger management counseling. Wait until you see the hate-filled side glance she’s giving Diana in court. Melinda’s hate It’s from the therapist office we see the animosity Melinda holds for her ex when the therapist asks, “What do you think he owes you?“, to which Melinda replies, “Every damn breath is his body.”

RAIN BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER – BY ACCIDENT

Melinda is in college (circa 2001) and working on a paper. She realizes she’s late for something and rushes out the library only to realize it’s raining. While using whatever she has for cover she runs into Robert, literally. Both parties drop their belongings. Melinda begins cursing Robert out. Once she gathers her stuff she leaves, leaving Robert to still get his things. A little while later, Robert shows up at Melinda’s dorm to apologize for what he did.

Shortly thereafter, Melinda’s mother dies and there’s a gathering at her mother’s house to which Robert shows up, unexpected. Melinda’s sisters are not impressed with Robert right off the bat, and neither is Melinda by how Robert showed up unannounced. But she’s not that concerned with it as her sisters are. Robert gets run out by her sisters. Melinda chases after him to learn that he’ll get back home by walking to the train station. Not wanting him to walk that far, Melinda offers him a ride home. It’s here she learns he lives in a small RV, however, it doesn’t bother her and she asks if she can go in. And the rest, as they say, is HERtory.

They begin seeing each other, sort of, until Melinda tries to get a hold of Robert unsuccessfully. Getting frustrated she goes to his RV to find him in there with another woman. Melinda takes her Jeep Wrangler and begins running into the RV until the RV tips over. This should have been a huge RED FLAG for Robert about Melinda, but it isn’t. The person he’s with is Diana. I’ll get to her significance in a bit.

ENDEAVORS, TWO JOBS, AND A CRIMINAL RECORD

Melinda and Robert get married and move into her mother’s house, the one Melinda grew up in. Robert has set up a room in the back of the house to work on his invention. His goal is to get Mr. Prescott, a billion dollar company that works with inventors and either buys the product or partners up with the inventors to get their product on the market.

Robert doesn’t work, while Melinda works two or three jobs supporting Robert’s dream. Robert ends up spending an enormous amount of money, Melinda’s money, towards his invention. So much so, they have now gone in debt. Not only does Melinda have to work the two or three jobs to help keep things afloat, but she ends up mortgaging the house, while Robert does nothing.

After some time, Robert finally lands three interviews at companies that pay over 100k a year, but he loses out on all three jobs due to the criminal record he had when he was 15. He thought the record would be expunged once he became an adult but it didn’t. Now his chances of getting a decent job will be even harder and Melinda is right back where she started; supporting someone who can’t, or won’t, get a job.

LONG STORY SHORT

After 18 years or so, Robert finally gets to see Mr. Prescott. Some on his own merit, but mostly because of Diana. If you remember Diana was the girl Robert was stepping out on Melida with when they were in college. Well, Diana is now Mr. Prescott’s right-hand woman bringing people’s inventions to Prescott.

I’m going to skip all the hoopla and get straight to the point; Melinda divorces Robert, and after she divorces him Robert makes it big with his invention.

I’m not going to go into what happened pre-divorce or after the divorce because it’s something you definitely have to witness for yourself.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE

There are quite a few times in the movie Melinda’s mental state is brought to light, starting with her knocking Robert’s RV over with her Jeep back in college. How she’s staring at Diana when they are in court some years later. Her various facial expressions while in therapy. I’m just speaking about her facial expresses. Nevermind what comes out of her mouth. Taraji P. Henson is one of those actresses that doesn’t have to say anything for her facial expressions does all the talking. I think this is what makes her great in this movie. I don’t feel that another actress could pull off what she does to bring the anger, hostility, animosity, resentfulness, and bitterness as she did.

Henson has great body language to express what she’s feeling. The way she holds her cigarette and blows out the smoke is enough to send chills down your spine. And the first time she does I knew I was in for the ride of my life, and trust me, the ride is bumpy.

If you compound her facial expression, body language with the words coming out of her mouth, even you will be running for the hills. Henson portrays a bitter and resentful person like nobody’s business.

SYMBOLISMS

Smoking

“is an outward signal of inner turmoil or conflict and most smoking has less to do with nicotine addiction and more to do with the need for reassurance”. (Westside Toastmasters). This is very evident in the movie when it comes to Melinda. I don’t think we see young Melinda smoking, but we do see Henson’s Melinda smoking like a dang chimney. And when she’s smoking her legs are cross and she gives side glances.

Crossed Legs

According to Body Language Project, “legs can be a great indicator of true thoughts and feelings”. Compound this with her smoking says a lot about Melinda’s feelings. When we visit her in the therapist office, she’s sitting with legs crossed. It’s not until she has to express her anger towards Robert does she light up a cigarette. The cigarette represents her reassurance, mostly to herself, that she has a right to feel how she feels. Legs crossed is the same as arms crossed. It’s a sign of skepticism or defensiveness.

When Robert comes home from his meeting with Prescott, Melinda is seated with her legs crossed, while smoking a cigarette:

During a conversation, it can indicate a ‘withdrawn’ attitude and it has been observed that people who cross their legs in the seated position tend to talk in shorter sentences and reject more proposals and are more inattentive to what’s going on compared to those who sit in a more ‘open’ position. (https://www.psychmechanics.com)

Melinda spurts out short sentences to Robert while sitting back in the chair, legs crossed and a cigarette in hand. When she is sure about her self and her actions, especially what she feels and wants, she uncrosses her legs, scoots and leans forward toward Robert and speaks her thoughts. Again, short sentences, maybe three or four words.

Dressed in Black

When Melinda is in court she’s dressed in black. The therapy session she attends she’s in black. When she visits Robert later in the movie, she’s in black, albeit sexy lingerie. But let’s look at the color black and what it represents: it’s associated with power, fear, mystery, strength, authority, elegance, formality, death, evil, and aggression, rebellion, and sophistication. Note the words I have placed in bold.

Dressed in White

Then we have Melinda in white, and it’s during a poignant scene in the movie. White does the following for us:

  • Aids mental clarity
  • Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles
  • Evokes purification of thoughts or actions
  • Enables fresh beginnings

And it does the same for Melinda. When you watch the scene in which she wears white and what her intentions are, the color she chooses to wear is clear in her defining moment in life.

Who is the therapist?

The absence of the therapist Melinda sees could represent Melinda’s thoughts, or her talking to herself. In a sense, her asking herself the questions being asked by the therapist, with her, herself, justifying her anger and bitterness by speaking out loud. We never do see the therapist, even when Melinda leaves the office. I see this as Melinda has talked herself into her justification of her feelings and thoughts and now she’s going to act upon them.

Opening Song

The biggest symbolism is the opening song. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood sung by Nina Simone. I love this song, even when The Animals covered it. Both songs were released in 1964. There’s a particular line in the song that says it all, “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

BUT WAS SHE REALLY SCORNED

This is the debate among people, was she really scorned? When she thought Robert was stepping out on her again with Diana he said no, and I believe him. But Melinda, it seems, has never gotten that night back in college, out of her head. This tells us she holds on to things for years and years. If it had been anyone else she thought Robert was stepping out on her with, would she have been as angry? Yes. But the fact it’s someone from her past, her anger went from the frying pan into the fire.

When Robert made his millions he wasn’t with Melinda but he made things right with her. Although I brought up Betty Broderick at the beginning of this post, Melinda’s ending with her husband was nothing like Broderick’s ending with her husband. Meaning, Robert wasn’t stepping out on Melinda while they were married. I feel since that night she caught them together, it has played over and over in head for all those years.

However the end result happened, whether he is with Melinda or not, Melinda will always have it in her head that he was seeing Diana on the side. As mentioned early, that scene will forever play and continues to play in Melinda’s head. I personally feel the night she caught Robert with Diana set her anger in motion.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed the movie as a whole. A reviewer said, if they had listened to the bad reviews they would have missed out on a good movie. I agree with the reviewer.

I think the final scene should have been done without any music, but that’s the Michael Haneke in me. Haneke didn’t use music/soundtracks in his films because he felt natural sound was the best music that can be used, and I agree. There is one part in which no music is used and the natural sounds of nature and people are heard which makes the scene that more disturbing. If Perry had continued that until the very end, the power of the final act would have been the defining moment in the movie, for me. However, in an earlier scene with her sitting in the chair, smoking a cigarette with legs crossed waiting for Robert to get home is the defining moment in my eyes.

Acrimony, a Lionsgate film, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. If you’re a non-Prime member and have to pay to watch the film, I feel it’s worth the money.

If you saw the movie, what are your thoughts? Was she scored or just resentful?

 

Homecoming – Amazon Prime Series

courtesy Amazon Prime Vidoe

Homecoming stars Julia Roberts (Pelican Brief, Eric Brockovich) as Heidi Bergman, a counselor at Homecoming, a facility set up to help soldiers returning from war who either suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or have symptoms of such. But there’s a hidden agenda at Homecoming that neither Heidi nor the soldiers being treated know about. However, it’s only Heidi that finds out the truth and tries to make things right, the best she can.

2018 BUT FEELS LIKE 1950

The series is set in 2018 but the amber tint used (if I’m correct in the tint name) gives it a feel and look of 1950 or 1960, which I really liked. It could be the calm feeling you get when you look at amber.

  • Orange. Orange is a warm, inviting, and joyful color. …
  • Yellow. Yellow is the color of optimism, brightness, cheery attitude, and mental clarity. ..

I feel if the series was filmed in HD or with bright colors it wouldn’t have the effect it has or have on the viewers. We wouldn’t be able to sit through the mundaneness of the series. The tint keeps us there, the wondering keeps us glued physically and mentally and the oddness of Robert’s Heidi connects to all of us, for the most part.

I’M HERE TO HELP YOU, BUT I CAN’T HELP ME

Heidi Bergman has had a number of jobs over the past few years until she landed the role of counselor at Homecoming, and that job only lasts from January 2018 – May 2018, four months. She’s one of those people that will leave a job (some she was fired from) when she sees injustice, in whatever forms it comes in, taking place.

She has a boyfriend towards the beginning of the series but after about a year of being together, they part ways, mostly due to her job taking up her waking her life.

Heidi’s boss, Colin, is a micro-manager from hell. I’m not sure how she kept her sanity dealing with him, but she did until she learns the truth about Homecoming. It’s after this revelation that Heidi begins to rebel and does it in the most perfect way possible.

SYMBOLISMS

THE SPIRAL STAIRCASES

I love symbols in movies for it screams ‘here’s a conspiracy theory for ya’, and Homecoming doesn’t disappoint at all. The three main characters in the movie, Heidi, Colin and Thomas (the DOD agent sent to investigate Homecoming) all end up on the top of a spiral staircase in their respective buildings they work at. Each, at one point during the film walk down the stairs, which to me, symbolizes the spiral downfall that each will encounter. When all is revealed, the secret behind Homecoming, each character must account for their actions.

TWO LOST SOULS IN A FISH BOWL

Heidi has a fish tank in her office that was left over from the last person to occupy the area. Heidi isn’t into fish but felt they were comforting, so she kept them. Two incidents take place. The first is when Walter, one of her patients, is asking what’s wrong with the fish because they weren’t acting right. Heidi says she’s been feeding them up to three times a day. Walter returns with you only feed them once a day. The symbolism of the fish eating too much plays into the patients at Homecoming.

Then the fish are no longer there. Walter asks where are they to which Heidi replied “I had no use for them so I got rid of them” (paraphrasing, of course). This symbolism is quite glaring as it too relates to the patients at Homecoming, especially one particular patient named Shrier.

A BIRD IN HAND

There’s a bird outside Heidi’s window that she hears all the time but doesn’t see. It annoys the hell out of her but she does nothing about it. Then one day, as a prank on Walter’s part, the bird ends up in her office and it scares the hell out of her. This bird, as a symbol, is Colin, her micro-managing boss whom she’s seen only once but hears all the time due to incisive calls and it annoys the hell out of her.

PHONE BOOKS BUT NO PHONE

If I’m correct, there were phone books hanging from what is known as phone booths, only the booths didn’t have doors and weren’t encased in a glass house. I found this interesting because it signified a way out (phone book has people’s names in it) but no way to get out, lack of phones.

UNPAVED ROADS

The ending left a lot of questions and answers. The road trip Heidi takes puts everything into perspectives without giving too much away. She had someone else’s map, therefore, she was playing someone else’s rules, which she had done her whole life. The only thing she did that was her own was to go on this road trip. But not all roads lead to Rome. She gets the answer she was seeking which makes her happy and sad at the same time. She’s able to speak her heart to a familiar face without a familiar memory.

Stay past the credits on the last episode (10) for there’s an interesting scene. Than you Ruben Shaw of @TheRubyTuesday

SEASON 2, ANYBODY?

There will be a season 2. This is one of those shows that can carry on with the same premise with new players for each new person can bring their own self to the story, and perhaps, make us see things differently while keeping the end game the same.

Homecoming is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Homecoming / released 2 November 2018 / Production: Amazon Prime, Anonymous Content

Shot Caller (2017) – Movie Review

courtesy of imdb.com

JACOB BECOMES MONEY

In 2017’s movie Shot Caller, Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones) is a broker who lives a simple life with his wife and son. On a night home from having dinner with a friend and his wife, Jacob has a car accident which kills his friend. Because he was considered under the influence, he was charged with manslaughter while under the influence and received a little over two years in prison.

While in prison, Jacob finds himself joining the Aryan Brotherhood and committing more crimes inside the prison walls. What started out as a two-year sentence has now turned into 10 years. But when Money (Jacob’s nickname given in prison) gets out, he finds leaving the brotherhood and the life of crime is not that easy.

 

 

Full recap (spoiler free) and review of the movie

 

 

 

Brawl In Cell Block 99 (2017) Starring Vincent Vaughn

PREMISE AND BACKSTORY

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) stars Vince Vaughn (Swingers, Wedding Crasher), plays Brandley Thomas, a recently fired auto mechanic. His wife, Lauren Thomas (played by Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter, White Chicks) is a substitute teacher whose assignments have slowed down significantly. To make money, Bradley becomes a runner for drug dealers. 18 months later Bradley and Lauren have moved out of their shooty house into a nice size home and Lauren is six months pregnant.

One of his well-to-do drug dealers, Gill (Marc Blucas, Necessary Roughness, Underground) wants Bradley to work with another drug dealer, and his two runners, Pedro and Ramon. Bradley is comprehensive about working with the new runners due to him having a bad feeling about them. However, his boss promises Bradley two months off and baby support, but Bradley wants three months off along with the baby support. His boss agrees and the partnership is on. What could possibly go wrong when you go against your instinct in lieu of what seems like a good deal?

THE TASK

Take Gil’s boat out into the middle of the water, dive for a trunk that is chained at the bottom and bring it to the surface. Remove its contents and take it back to Gil. Again, what could possibly go wrong?  How about cops showing up, a shootout ensues between Ramon, Pedro and the cops. Instead of Bradley continuing to walk in the opposite direction of the action, he walks back towards the action and gets arrested.

Bradley is sentenced to seven years in a medium security prison.

AND NOW THE FUN BEGINS

This is where I won’t provide details of Bradley’s stay in the prison as I did with on the outside, for this is where I hope you are wanting to watch the movie. Also, this is where I say to you that this movie is worth watching, if not for Vaughn’s stellar acting in a drama. But I will set things up for you. As mentioned, Bradley gets sentenced to a medium security prison. However, he must find his way to Red Leaf Maximum security prison and quickly. This is where cell block 99 is located.

Don Johnson (Miami ViceNash Bridges) does a fine job as Warden Tuggs of Red Leaf. He prefers the term minimum freedom as opposed to maximum security.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Vince Vaughn was stellar in this role. Most know him as a funny guy who plays in comedy movies. My favorite by him is Wedding Crashers. But Wedding Crashers is the only Vince Vaughn movie I’ve seen and will ever watch for I don’t find him that funny and worth my time watching. Until now.

As mentioned Vaughn was stellar as Bradley Thomas. I hope to see Vaughn in more grittier roles such as Brawl in Cell Block 99. Don Johnson, as sadistic Warden Tubbs, was equally as good with calm demeanor when dishing out threats. The movie, overall, was well made. It did come through as an indie film made on a low budget, yet with good cinematography. I could be wrong (about it being low budget), but this is my observation.

This is definitely a movie I will watch again just for the acting by Vaughn. If you’re a Vaughn fan because of his comedies, this might not be the movie for you, for after watching this you won’t see him in the same comedic light. If you’re not a fan of Vaughn, such as myself, this might be the movie for you in which you might gain respect for Vaughn as an actor and not just someone who plays in mindless comedies (minus Wedding Crashers).

Brawl In Cell Block 99 is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Directed and Written by S Craig Zahler, who also wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk