Love, Hate, and Temptation
In March 2013, Tyler Perry released Temptation: Confessions of A Marriage Counselor. This is Perry’s 15th movie, which he both wrote and directed. This film, like all of Perry-made movie, gratifies values of the African-American church-going audience.
Perry grew up in New Orleans, La. Perry’s childhood was full of hard times, but was soothed by church attendance with his mother. His father, Emmitt Perry Sr. was a carpenter. The family makeup included Perry senior’s wife, Maxine, two daughters, and two sons, one named Emmitt Tyler Perry Jr. As a young boy, Emmitt Jr. witnessed an abusive father who continually beat his mother, his brother and his sisters, and also Emmitt Jr. Family drama was something constant in young Emmitt Jr.’s life. Growing up in poverty only added to the family’s hardships. Eventually the physical abuse from Emmitt Sr. became so tragically violent that Emmitt Jr. considered killing his father and even considered killing himself. Deciding that he could no longer take the abuse of his father on his family, Emmitt Jr. left home. The domestic violence that occurred in his youth made him severely depressed as a teenager.
As an adult, Perry watched The Oprah Winfrey Show and in a recent interview, said he remembered watching an episode discussing the therapeutic nature of writing. That inspired him to begin writing, and he worked through his bad experiences by writing letters to himself. He adapted his letters into a play, "I Know I've Changed", about domestic abuse. Unfortunately, after renting a theater in Atlanta to put on the play, he failed to attract audiences (IMDb).
Now, Tyler Perry knows his audience. His movies have grossed more $600 million in the past 10 years. However, critics almost universally pan his films. Why do these two groups have such strong and opposing views of Perry’s films? By what standard do they evaluate the films? Perry’s movies focus on family struggles and often show how religion helps guide people through those problems. An analysis of a Tyler Perry movie can help answer these questions and suggest why the two groups come to different interpretations of his films. This paper will analyze religious and family cultural symbols and messages that are indicative in his most recent work.
Temptation is Perry’s most recent film, which makes it best to use for this research project because reading critic and audience members’ reviews online will offer the ability to judge Perry’s cinematic progression according to the viewers. Audience member’s and critics’ reviews often compare the current film to past ones. Therefore, an examination of the contents of those reviews can show how opinions change over time making a comprehensive review of all Perry-made movies unnecessary.
In regards to his audience, Perry once said, “Hollywood is finally waking up to the fact that people who go to church also go to the movies. I'm not sure what took them so long to see that or how long...