Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Diary of a Mad Black Woman

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for drug content, thematic elements, crude sexual references and some violence

Reviewed by: Nicole Richardson
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2005
Featuring: Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris, Tyler Perry, Shemar Moore, Lisa Marcos
Director: Darren Grant
Producer: Tyler Perry, Reuben Cannon
Distributor: Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
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Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
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Relevant Issues
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Adultery

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Relationship information
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Time heals the heart. Faith heals the rest.

“Diary of a Mad Black Woman” is the story of Helen (Kimberly Elise) whose world falls apart when her husband of 18 years replaces her with another woman. Helen has been the faithful and devoted wife of Charles (Steve Harris), supporting and encouraging him on his rise to becoming one of the most successful lawyers in the city. On the night of their 18th anniversary, Charles literally throws her out of the house to make room for his lover. Left with nowhere else to go, Helen turns to her grandmother, Madea (played broadly by Tyler Perry). Through the support of her family, including her cousin, Brian (Tyler Perry) and her mother (the wonderful Cicely Tyson), and through a relationship with a friend of the family, Orlando (Shemar Moore), Helen learns to forgive and find real love.

“Diary” has the potential to convey a wonderful, powerful message about forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. The problem comes with the vulgar sexual innuendo and mild profanity that you have to wade through to get to the message. Madea’s brother, Joe (also played by Tyler Perry) was a pot smoking, bawdy, foul-mouthed, lusty, inappropriate individual who adds nothing valuable to the movie. Just about all of the vulgar comments came from this character. He even made lustful comments about a member of his own family. There were many instances of mild profanity. The word “hell” was used more times than I could count. There were several instances of derogatory references to Charles’ girlfriend and the words “a**” and “d***” were used once. However, there was no use of the words “s***,” “f***,” or “b***.”

Madea made several comments about God and church that could be deemed inappropriate and offensive. When Helen’s mother tells Helen that God takes care of people that wrong you, Madea responds, “God takes too long.”

There is also a moderate level of violence in the movie, including many instances of abuse and several threats made with a gun. A major character is shot in the movie, although no blood is shown. The violence is not very graphic, but somewhat intense.

There is no sex or nudity, although sex is discussed, but not in a vulgar way (with the exception of Joe). Helen and Orlando are shown sleeping in the same bed, but they are both clothed, and the movie makes it very clear that they did not have sex. There is drug use—both Joe and Deborah, Brian’s estranged wife. Joe is shown smoking marijuana, and Deborah is obviously strung out for much of the movie. The character of Madea is played by a man, Tyler Perry (who is also the screenwriter.

“Diary” delivers an admirable message about forgiveness. Helen is understandably angry and bitter over what has happened to her and has a difficult time at first following Ephesians 4:31,32—“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” In fact, Helen’s rage takes her down a very dark (and somehow unbelievable) path for a while. It takes the words of her devout, praying mother (and where would we all be without those?) to help her see that holding on to her rage is separating her from her own joy and hurting her relationship with God.

Helen and Orlando’s relationship does not go beyond cuddling (albeit in a bed overnight), because Orlando is portrayed as a Christian man. While I admire the movie for restricting Helen and Orlando’s intimacy, I can’t help but think about Matthew 26:41—“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Laying in bed with someone, even if you are clothed, is inviting temptation, no matter who you are and what your level of faith may be. Helen’s husband, Charles, completely ignores Colossians 3:19—“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” He is incredibly cruel to her and certainly does not her as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-31).

Overall, I did enjoy “Diary of a Mad, Black Woman,” but I felt uncomfortable with some of the sexual comments. I did not feel that it was a well-written movie, and there were many things that did not make sense, but it was entertaining. I think the PG-13 rating is appropriate, although I would highly recommend discussing the the movie with teenagers afterward. I would especially discuss the abuse, infidelity, and drug use in the film. I would also talk about how to forgive those that wrong you, and how unforgiveness can poison one’s relationship with God. Overall, this film has a terrific message, but it is obscured by crude, unnecessary comments.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild


See our list of “Relevant Issues.”

See our review of the sequel to this film, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I have been a fan of Tyler Perry for a while now. Some people who are not familiar with his production may not appreciate the film as much as those of us who know his story. The story is about real life. There are many of us who are Christians that have grown up with people like Madea and the “uncle Joe.” I think Tyler Perry did an exceptional job of relating to the real life of some black woman and woman of all races as well. I think it is important for Christians to remember that we cannot become so heavenly-minded that we are no Earthly good.
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Vanessa Brown, age 40
Positive—…This movie is about the life of most Black Americans. Every black American can relate to every character in the movie. Because what happened in the movie happens in real life. We need to look at the overall message the movie is sending out. Which was a good message. How many movies do we see today that say anything about Jesus and get a non-Christian and Christian audience? Not many. I think Tyler Perry did an excellent job of turning his play into a movie. And I am looking forward to his next work!
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Danni, age 29
Positive—I am a fan of Tyler Perry. I believe the movie was true to Tyler’s play. As for the negative responses to the movie, I feel that as a Christian everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, some times non-believers and believers should remain silent. God has given Tyler Perry a ministry. It is that simple. Who are we to judge what he has done. The proof of his ministry is in the message of his plays and those who’ve sought God after viewing his plays and/or his movie.
My Ratings: Good/4½
—La Trice Jackson, age 34
Positive—Diary Of A Mad Black Women , I loved this movie. As Christians we do live in this world and we see people suffering and having problems. It is great to see a movie where the characters are real and it shows people being changed by the Lord. It was funny and sad at the same time. I highly recommend this movie. Some of the movie can be very intense. How ever it is pretty clean. There is some minor sexual content and scenes of abuse and drugs. However seeing people come to the Lord makes it all too real.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jennifer, age 41 (USA)
Positive—You missed the mark on the moral rating. How in the world could this film be rated morally offensive? When is the last time you saw a movie where the main characters fall in love and don’t have sex? With the exception of the “a” word and one other word, this is by far one of the cleanest movies I’ve seen in many years! It was refreshing to see one of the main characters repent of his sins and come to Christ. What’s morally offensive about that?
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—R. Smith, age 43
Positive—This movie portrayed Christian love, forgivness, and redemtion. There were some offensives, however, the message would not be able to be portrayed without them. There is always sin before forgivness and redemtion. The movie was also very funny and entertaining.
My Ratings: Average/4
—A Rogers, age 46
Negative
Negative—Jesus writes letters to 7 Churches in the Book of Revelation. One of the Churches is called Pergamos (Pergamum) this church’s name literally means Perverted Marriage. The idea is Christianity mingling with paganism. For more information on Pergamos obtain Chuck Missler’s teaching on Revelation at www.khouse.org. This movie to me is an example of modern Pergamos. By mixing Christian values with raunch.

WARNING: This movie has sexual innuendos that make this movie unable to be redeemed. One sexual innuendo refers to anal intercourse between an old uncle and his recently separated niece. This type of thing is rarely seen in the worst of Hollywood usually reserved for hard core pornography. Marijuana, and alcohol abuse are laughed at and taken very lightly. On the other hand in a different situation a hardcore drug addict rehabilitates and eventually winds up in church. Giving the overall idea that some types of drug/alcohol abuse are tolerable while others are considered problematic.

One last point. The idea of people taking vengeance into their own hands is somewhat glorified which is antithetical to the Biblical message for Christians. The feel of the movie has that usual cheesy movie feel you get from Christian movies, yet is extremely offensive which makes it a complete flop. This whole movie has a sick mixture of EXTREME pagan ideology and Christian values. I would say this is probably one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive/1
—Pastor Casey, age 31
Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was so good! I watched it with my mom and dad. I laughed, I cried, and was pretty much on a roller coaster with this movie. I thought it was very well done and had an awesome biblical message of forgiveness and compassion. Orlando (Helen’s boyfriend in the movie) was so sweet with her, and he never pressured her for anything, accepting that she wasn’t ready for a lot of things yet. The relationship was pure throughout the movie and afterwards it leaves you feeling good. I’d recommend it for ages 13 and up.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4½
—Malika, age 15
Movie Critics
…contains some of the strongest Christian messages I’ve seen on the big screen recently… buys into an underwhelming and too-familiar lie…
—Christopher Lyon, Plugged In
…a faithful but cannily retooled expansion of Tyler Perry’s gospel play… The movie will be a complete delight for fans of black gospel theater…
—The Dallas Morning News

“…a high-minded melodrama joined at the hip with low-comedy, borderline vulgar shenanigans…
—Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

…one of the strangest and silliest movies I’ve seen in quite a while… The film may be bad—and mad—but it’s not predictable…
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
…sloppy story …needs some editing…
—E! Online
…the movie hops from farce to melodrama and back to farce without regard for tone…
—Wesley Morris, Boston Globe