7 November 2010 | penny-119
Better than Expected
I will start by saying that I am not a Tyler Perry fan. I don't generally watch or enjoy his movies. I was also hesitant to see this play turned into a movie, but my husband really wanted to see it, so I went somewhat reluctantly to see how TP would butcher this play.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, the play is not something that can be easily rendered into a movie. It's more of a performance than a traditional "play". There is not a coherent plot, and even the vignettes are often incomplete stories. The men that are central actors in the womens' stories are completely voiceless and have no role in the play whatsoever. The dialog from the different characters is beautiful and elegant and haunting, so to be true to the story you have to keep the language that is used.
So, it's a difficult situation to be in, no plot really to paraphrase or "adapt" with very precise language that needs to be incorporated to keep the beauty of the piece. It is a task that a better filmmaker than TP should have tackled....but it's doubtful that anyone who had the talent AND the juice to make this movie actually would have, so TP is all that's left.
The film is choppy at parts...NOT seamlessly interweaving the added plot-driven dialog with the elegant and colorful soliloquies from the original play. Also, some of the particular poems seem oddly-placed, and out of context.
However, the performance of the pieces did give a meaning that reading the play does not. Pieces that I understood in one way when I read them took on a different and more potent meaning when I saw them being performed in the context of the film. The delivery of most (not all) of the poems and the character portrayals generally was excellent.
There is some overacting (Kerry Washington in particular stood out as overdone to me), and some of Tyler Perry's typical caricatures (if you are a light-skinned man with a high paying job....you are a bastard!), but if I evaluated this movie based on whether my understanding and experience of the text was expanded by this film, I would say it was.
Perhaps if I had seen the performance I would evaluate this film less kindly, but I think that if you come in understanding 1) it is a lofty performance piece being rendered as film, and 2) it has incorporated some of the performance aspect of the play into the film, I think you could appreciate it and enjoy it.