The trailer for Tyler Perry’s new film, Acrimony, makes it pretty clear what the story is about. Taraji P. Henson plays a woman scorned by her husband, and she does not appear to be taking it well. She narrates the story of her failed marriage to both her therapist and the audience, which wouldn’t be alarming if it weren’t for the other scenes that show Henson in a clear rage and acting out violently against both her husband and his new lover. Acrimony is clearly set up as an ominous suspense thriller with a classic Perry twist. “Angry Black woman” is a theme that Perry has worked to familiarize himself with over the years in way that has garnered him a loyal fanbase and rightful criticism. However, that’s another post for another day. If you are wondering what the word ‘acrimony’ actually means, though, the specific brand of Black womanhood that Perry is known to deploy in his shows and movies is a pretty good clue.
I’ll admit, ‘acrimony’ sounds so similar to the word ‘alimony’ that I just assumed it was a jargony term related to the fallout of a divorce. I was wrong, kind of. According to Merriam-Webster, acrimony is simply defined as “anger and bitterness.” So while it isn’t limited to the breakdown of a marriage, it certainly describes the kind of vibe you’d find in divorce court. And it definitely defines Henson’s character in Acrimony, a woman whose rage burns through the screen.
Perry has never been one for subtleties. Some of his greatest hits have boasted titles like Why Did I Get Married? and Diary of a Mad Black Woman. With Acrimony — which hits theaters on March 30 — he is once again letting the name speak for itself. Luckily, we can also bank on a great performance from Henson to make up for it.