I’m very late, but I finally watched the movie Acrimony today. I’ll admit that I didn’t have very high expectations but it was a decent movie. There were so many mental health and social psychology applications within the movie. The main character Melinda went above and beyond in trying to ensure that her husband Robert was successful. But throughout the movie it became clear that he was using her. Being the only spouse supporting the family financially for 18 years took its toll on Melinda and she snapped. She had lost herself in the marriage and in its subsequent downfall. She invested heavily in a dream that she saw her husband’s fiance getting and it was too much. The money that she had been given didn’t hold a candle in her mind to spending the rest of her life in luxury with the man that she held down for years. While ten million is nothing to sneeze at, she could never get the time back that she had spent in the relationship. The entire movie was an example of why doing the right things for the wrong person can be detrimental. Melinda’s family was supportive and tried to warn her from the very beginning but she chose her own path. It wasn’t pretty and it was full of frustration and in the end, loss. Yes, she was young when she first met Robert but she put up with working two jobs and leaving him at home sleeping every day for well over a decade. It’s good to believe in people but there has to be a limit. Yes, there were definitely some mental health implications but Melinda was incredibly hurt and she absolutely did not have the coping skills in place to adequately deal with a loss of that magnitude without losing her mind. She just couldn’t walk away and in the end she paid the cost.
I like Tyler Perry. Despite the fact that I’ve never met him personally, I admire his story have enjoyed the videos that he’s posted. Despite this, I haven’t cared for all of his theater and movie productions. Netflix recently put his movie, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor on their site and I recently watched it for the second time hoping that it would be better. Not so. One of the downfalls to having an actual background and experience being a therapist is that you tend to critique the way that therapy is portrayed on the big screen. However, the movie definitely sheds some light into marriages and portrays a situation that has been repeated in millions of marriages. But first, let’s talk about why Judith (the marriage counselor) feels that it’s necessary to monopolize the entire session with her client telling her a story about her supposed sister who is really herself. Self-disclosure much. But I digress. The breakdown of Judith and Brice’s marriage involves both of them. They are both busy people who are stressed by their jobs but rarely take the time to actually spend with each other. Both feel neglected by the other but they have not discussed this with each other. They have been together for years and have slowly slid into the place where their marriage just “is.” It becomes more of a habit for them than anything else. This is when the problem arises. Harley enters the scene as everything Judith has ever imagined or dream of. You can see in the movie that Judith attempts to seek Brice out for emotional connection but he is closed off and totally blows her off. This rejection is the last straw for Judith who then decides that her life would be better with Harley. The interesting thing is that Brice also makes heartfelt gestures to save the marriage but he is promptly rejected by Judith who has decided that he’s too late and that her decision has already been made. This leads to the demise of the relationship and marriage. The irony of all this is that Judith works as a matchmaker who puts people together. This movie tells the story of millions of people and their marriages. Just because the grass looks different doesn’t always mean that it’s greener. Judith learns this lesson the hard way after she discovers that the man she thinks she loves is not only abusive but also infects her with AIDS. Not the greatest ending ever. I say all this to say that Judith and Brice’s marriage was fix-able. Judith left her husband because of an emotional connection with another and because all her gestures and attempts at connecting with her husband had no results. When she finally realizes what a mistake she’s made it is too late to make amends and her (now) ex-husband belongs to another. It’s taken her too long to come to her senses. The problem is that both took the other for granted until it was too late. They assumed that just because they were married things would work out. They didn’t take the time to actively work on the marriage and to meet the emotional needs of the other and both paid the price of the failed relationship.