Making the Grades
Life in the mansion on the hill appears to be perfect for Charles McCarter (Steve Harris) and his wife Helen (Kimberly Elise). He's just been honored as one of Atlanta's top attorneys and the couple has an enviable lifestyle filled with designer clothes and high-end cars.
However, all that changes on the eve of their 18th anniversary when Charles unceremoniously drags Helen, kicking and screaming, out of their house and deposits her on the front step so his mistress (Lisa Marcos) can move in. Filing for divorce, he leaves his wife with nothing more than the personal possessions she can fit in the back of a little moving van.
Desperate and despondent, Helen shows up at her grandmother Madea's (Tyler Perry) house in the city's ghetto district. Madea is a beefy, white-haired, pistol-packing woman with a no-nonsense attitude. Refusing to let Helen dwell on her disappointments, she encourages her granddaughter to seek revenge on her estranged husband. Accompanying her back to the manor, Madea begins dividing the couple's entire household effects right down the middle with a chainsaw she apparently had stashed in her purse.
Fortunately, Helen's mother (Cicely Tyson) has a more Christian approach to the unpleasant situation. Persuading her daughter to exercise a little faith, Myrtle believes her deserted offspring has the inner strength to rise above her trial. Luckily, Helen also wins the moral support of a handsome and sensitive steelworker (Shemar Moore) who exercises incredible and often unbelievable patience while wooing the emotionally wounded woman.
Filled with rousing Gospel music and messages of forgiveness, faith and redemption, this film, based on Tyler Perry's stage play of the same name, would seem to offer plenty of upbeat messages for family viewing. However, the script is riddled with material many parents might find objectionable.
Sharing the house with his sister Madea, Joe (also played by Tyler Perry) is a sexually aggressive old codger who bad-mouths his sibling and hits on nearly every woman he meets. The result is a long list of excessively crude commentary, incestuous sexual invitations and a Viagra joke. In addition, Joe and his card-playing pals openly pass around illegal drugs at a family gathering and share a smoke with a woman known to have adverse reactions to marijuana.
While comedy might be the basis for Joe's antics, a history of drug dealing, bribery and revenge (without consequences) are also played out on screen in much more dramatic terms. Given the chance, a woman maliciously torments a helpless character using neglect, starvation and a near drowning. Spousal abuse, street junkies and bullet-inflicted injuries are shown as well.
Furthermore, the film's awkward lurching back and forth between farcical comedy and emotional heartache are prone to leave many audiences feeling battered by the entries in this Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Although forgiveness is an important message in this film, do you believe Helen has truly changed her feelings for Charles in such a short space of time? Is seeking revenge part of being able to forgive someone?
In this film, some characters have to practice tough love. Is it sometimes difficult to let others face the consequences for their decisions? Why is change and redemption a personal pursuit?