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Tyler Perry, a 42 year old self proclaimed writer actor and director to the urban circuit has single handedly changed the direction of mass media in general. My gearing more to a specific audience that main stream holly wood has not quite caught up with .I will discuss the themes Mr. Perry is drawn to along with his signature style and similarities between three different films that he has written and produced. The films I will use for reference will be as follows “The family that preys” “I can do bad all by myself” and “For colored girls”. All films deal with black and white women alike in struggle of some sort.
The signature style of this director would best be described as black feminism but also empowerment. The definition of black feminism is the rejected idea of a single unified gender oppression that is experienced evenly by all women but rather is dictated by the color of your skin .Also the empowerment aspect is very bold in his movies because usually by the end of these films his main character is better because of the journey she has taken.
“I can do bad all by myself” is a film that deals with three sibling who’s alcoholic aunt Amy refuses to take care of them but has no choice since her mother has since passed away. Aunt Amy is living off of her married boyfriend and works nights in a local club singing well known songs. Tyler Perry often draw music into most of his films but specifically music of African American culture such as R&B , black church spirituals and rarely rap music. Both of the other two movies I have noted have R&B music as well as dramatic scores included this is definitely a signature style of Perry. Also most of the elements placed in front of the camera are simple or modest. Most character are easily relatable and down to earth.
The film “For colored girls” directly relates to the previous motion picture I have mentioned, because it to deals with black females playing the leading roles all with varying levels of issues. The first main character Juanita is so in love that she allows herself to be hurt by a man who continues to love and her and leave her. The second main character crystal and her children are being abused by her post traumatic stress disordered boyfriend who she refuses to marry but is scared to leave behind. A young girl who becomes unexpectedly impregnated and a woman who is raped by a man she allows to take her out dinner with. Another way this corresponds to the above mentioned work is because the element of flash back is used in both films. In this movie flash back is used when the young girl is becomes pregnant reminisces about the illegal abortionist she has gone to see to end that child’s life. In “I can do bad all by myself “Amy the immature aunt has a flash back of what it must have been like when her mother passed away. Supposedly of a brain aneurism on the local metro bus. Another similar between the two movies are the themes which are both drama.
“the family that preys” is a film about yet another women of color who is semmingly successful but has a dark secret. The secret being the infedility to her husband a construction worker who dreams of opening his own business but her affair is not with just anyone but with her boss who is also her husband boss and she works with in the firm he works as a construction worker building new business platforms. Again we find a woman who is in a troubled position and does not know exactly what to do to get out of it, but is better for journey. A recurring aspect to all three films would have to be Tyler’s use of available lighting in “I can do bad all by myself” the sun rises on the morning of the day that Amy opens the door to find that her niece and two nephews have been stealing and caught by the lovable character Madea who Tyler Perry plays him self as we know he is an actor also. “The family that preys” uses available light in most if not all scenes one in particular as charlotte and Alice take a road trip and stop in a quaint town for ice cream just to enjoy the surrounding views. Finally “For colored girls” captures the use of lighting by using a lot of windows with in Jo’s office and aides an aspect of dominance because she has the quintessential corner office with a view .
Drama is great theme to use because it usually draws the movie goers in with an assortment of twist and turns that the characters go through. Also it is one of the most relatable characteristics to life as people live it. Who can honestly say they have never been lied to, hurt or deceived? Although Tyler Perry is often met with criticism and praise he continues to produce films on topics dealing with comedy and or drama. Criticisms because he is assumed to only use stereotypical topics within the black community such as rape violence alcoholism lack of money or success and infidelity.
Praised because he has single employed more black actors since 2005 than any other black cinematographer to date .but are these topics and storylines really racially motivated? Would they be any less valid if only white people played these roles?
Perry’s childhood was not that of a perfect one he once attempted suicide to escape is father’s beatings .At age 16 he had his name legally changed for Emmitt to Tyler to distance himself from his fathers. After production of the film “Precious “was finished Tyler reviewed the movie and was then compelled to tell his story, having been molested as a child by his friends mother at he age of ten and by three other men previous to this . I believe this is the reason Tyler chooses the subject matter that he portrays in his movies because he has first hand been the one to live it in some various scenes an example would be in the movie “I can do bad all by myself “Amy’s boyfriend who is actually married to another person engages in inappropriate behavior with her niece by secretly hitting on her.
Overall Tyler Perry’s signature style is that of a realist. Real people with real issues that find there ways through life. He deals with adult subject matter that sometimes includes comedy that can sometimes entertain young adults or teenagers. All three movies have countless similarities but I hope that have named enough to suffice. Although Perry receives a lot of criticism for his movies I for one respect him for having a idea and creating a plat form to express it .What better than the realm of cinema which is completely of your own expression and ideas but together not with one picture but many and if a picture is worth a thousand words then Tyler Perry’s films are worth a million.
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