Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Taraji P. Henson
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|Producer:||Roger M. Bobb, Karen Gorodetzky, Michael Paseornek, Tyler Perry|
“Business is like family. Keep your affairs in order.”
By just simply reading the film’s title, a viewer might believe that Tyler Perry’s newest film takes a raw look into the impending disasters of extramarital affairs. While the film does offer a look into how such a selfish act can be damaging, this glimpse, instead, renders itself into a generic soap opera.
The film begins with the wedding of Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and her soon-to-be husband Chris (Rockmond Dunbar). Chris is obviously in love with his wife and only briefly has cold feet. While across the hall, Andrea selfishly complains about having to wear her mother’s wedding dress and is against the woman who is paying for her wedding.
Alice (Alfre Woodard) is Andrea’s mother and a humble Christian. For over thirty years the hard-working mother has been good friends with Charlotte (Kathy Bates), a rich Southern business woman. Charlotte was happy to pay for Andrea’s wedding, since her own son, William Cartwright, eloped.
At the wedding, there is much tension brewing between Charlotte and her son, William. It quickly becomes apparent that a loving mother-son bond does not exist. All is forgotten when William lustfully sets his eyes on Andrea. He offers her an accounting job after she graduates. The story then forwards four years when Andrea is now a successful accountant and selfishly wants out of her marriage. Alice and Charlotte go on a road trip together.
Written and directed by Tyler Perry, “A Family that Preys” stars a talented cast. Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard have amazing chemistry together. Their friendship scenes are convincingly portrayed, and their friendship seems genuine. While the entire cast helped with the film, a strong script was missing.
Right from the beginning, an affair is obvious. Andrea’s cold to her husband, completely sadistic in how she speaks to him, and stays late in the office. She even calls her husband ‘stupid’ and repeatedly tells him that he will never be like William Cartwright. It seems as if Perry wanted to see how much the audience could take of Andrea’s condemnation of Chris. These signs and even more obviousness are thrown right in front of Chris. However, he still somehow remains oblivious to his wife’s infidelities. Even when Andrea sneaks out of a party to secretly meet with Cartwright, Chris never second guesses. This repetition becomes annoyin,g as it is continuously recycled.
This film had relatively moderate cursing. I counted about 12 uses of the milder ones. There are no sex scenes and kisses are tastefully done. The affairs occur off screen (except for a brief kiss scene). I do not advise younger children see this movie, since the entire film has an adult theme of marriage and adultery. The way Andrea speaks to her husband would not be ideal for any young children to learn from.
During their road trip, Charlotte tries to influence Alice into drinking at a country bar. She also pushes her into going into a male strip club. However, I found it so awesome and refreshing that in the first temptation Alice only drinks water, while Charlotte drinks tequila. While they are in the male strip club, Alice rebukes the men with holy water and the Bible. This scene was humorously done. The men were only shown shirtless.
When Chris finally does find out about the affair, he asks Andrea how she could do such a thing. The camera zooms in when she proudly states that Cartwright is her man. Out of nowhere, Chris violently backhands her until she falls over a counter. The audience in the theatre applauded. This is nothing to be celebrated. Did she treat her husband viciously? Yes, she did. By the world’s standards did she deserve to get slapped? It seems so, judging from the theatre’s reaction. However, Paul did write “for the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.”
It often saddens me on how people who do not personally know Christ as their Savior will naively assume that Christianity is a violent religion or a religion that opposes women. When, in fact, Christianity is the most loving. God’s commandment for how married couples should treat one another would be the best foundation for any loving, successful marriage. In Ephesians 5, Paul writes a great deal on how husbands and wives should treat each other. Firstly, God commands married couples to “submit to one another out of the reverence of Christ.” Wives should “submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
He also commands husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Since Christ was the perfect example of love. We all should follow His example, not Hollywood’s glorification of domestic abuse.
The movie does have some good Christian themes. The character of Alice is one of the best examples of a Christian woman I have seen on the big screen. I loved how she was not hypocritical, condemning or a radical. Instead she was loyal, compassionate, and honest. The film’s biggest downfall was that it focused too much on the negative relationships and only gave the audience a brief view of the results. I do not personally recommend the film.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
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