Before talking about the film Diary of a Mad Black Woman, a few things have to be said about the writer, main actor (three roles) and director Tyler Perry.
For the past ten years Tyler Perry has produced a series of plays, some of which are now out on DVD, with outstanding stories and music. He is a Christian and he puts a definite Christian message in all of his work. While aimed largely at African American audiences, it is an effort that relates to all races and ages.
Tylerís popularity was such that FOX offered him a weekly show at a salary that would have tempted even a Bill Cosby. However, when he was told that his series could not mention Jesus Christ his reply was "If you donít have room for Jesus Christ, then you donít have room for Tyler Perry."
So far only his one play, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, ha! s made it to theatrical film and critics have not been kind. Traditional critics that is. The film is now out in DVD and the cover may turn off people who are not familiar with Tylerís work or with the main character who he plays, Madea. Madea is an outrageous grandmother who is very vocal about her feelings and not afraid to express them. In the plays it is usually her daughter who represents the balance for Madea. She was missed here though she does appear as a choir leader.
Unfortunately in the making of the movie many of the regular cast members were left out and despite the film having an excellent cast, there is far less music than in the stage plays.
The following has been taken from several Christian reviewers (unnamed) on the net.
"The Diary of a Mad Black Woman is the story of Helen (Kimberly Elise) whose world falls apart when her husband of 18 years replaces her with anoth! er woman. Helen has been the faithful and devoted wife of Charles (Steve Harris), supporting and encouraging him on his rise to becoming one of the most successful lawyers in the city. Helen turns to her grandmother, Madea (played broadly by Tyler Perry). Through the support of her family, including her cousin, Brian (also Tyler Perry) and her mother (the wonderful Cicely Tyson), and through a relationship with a friend of the family, Orlando (Shemar Moore), Helen learns to forgive and find real love. Diary conveys a wonderful, powerful message about forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.ĎThere is also a moderate level of violence in the movie, including many instances of abuse and several threats made with a gun. A major character is shot in the movie, although no blood is shown. The violence is not very graphic, but somewhat intense."
"There is no sex or nudity, although sex is discussed, but not in a vulgar way. There is drug use ó both Joe (also played by Tyler) and Deborah, Brian's estranged wife. Joe is shown smoking marijuana, and Deborah is obviously strung out for much of the movie. The character of Madea is played by a man, Tyler Perry (who is also the screenwriter.)"
"Diary delivers an admirable message about forgiveness. Helen is understandably angry and bitter over what has happened to her and has a difficult time at first following Ephesians 4:31,32 - ĎLet all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave youí. In fact, Helen's rage takes her down a very dark (a! nd somehow unbelievable) path for a while. It takes the words of her devout, praying mother (and where would we all be without those?) to help her see that holding on to her rage is separating her from her own joy and hurting her relationship with God."
"Overall, I did enjoy Diary of a Mad, Black Woman I think the PG-13 rating is appropriate, although I would highly recommend discussing the the movie with teenagers afterward. I would especially discuss the abuse, infidelity, and drug use in the film. I would also talk about how to forgive those that wrong you, and how unforgiveness can poison one's relationship with God. Overall, this film has a terrific message."
The most moving part in the film is something you do not see in Hollywood productions. Toward the end, two of the main characters, people who have sinned greatly against their families, stand up in church to repent and give their lives ! to Jesus Christ.
Fred R .Eichelman, Ed .D.