28 Days of Black Movies: A scientifically sound theory about how Taraji Henson’s character got on that boat in Tyler Perry’s ‘Acrimony’

OPINION: One of the greatest mysteries in Black cinema needs some investigation and resolve.

Taraji P. Henson in Tyler Perry’s “Acrimony.” (Photo by Chip Bergmann)

For starters, and just as a matter of journalistic due diligence, even Tyler Perry—the writer, director and producer of Acrimony—doesn’t have a good answer for how in the hell Melinda Gayle (Taraji Henson) got on the yacht at the end of the movie, easily one of the most WTF, “just go with it” moments in cinematic history. His answer suggests as much. 

In a January 2020 interview with Aliya King (now Aliya King Neil) for Level, the writer asked Perry about the infamous final scenes of Acrimony:

Aliya King: How did she get back on the boat?

Tyler Perry: [laughs] Are you talking about ‘Acrimony’?

AK: Yup.

TP: [sighs]

AK: It’s a thing. People want to know!

TP: Okay. There’s a moment when she sneaks out of the house. She sneaks onto the boat during their reception.

AK: The reception was on the boat?

TP: No! The reception was somewhere else.

AK: And while they were at the reception, she sneaks onto the boat?

TP: Yes. The boat was docked, and she snuck on. So they take off. And she’s been hiding on the boat for hours.

As an additional point of note, just a few days before this interview was published, Tyler Perry’s A Fall From Grace, a movie that actually might have broken the internet for its unintentionally entertaining shenanigans, debuted on Netflix. 

For those that haven’t seen the movie and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me do a real quick synopsis of the film:

A woman—Melinda—who is mad about everything, gets really mad when the man she kicks out (for understandable reasons) and divorces, Robert (Lyriq Bent), ends up as a millionaire who moves on and marries another woman. The really mad woman—Melinda—attempts to kill her ex-husband and his new, pregnant wife aboard a yacht that nobody can figure out how or when she boarded. 

To know of this movie means you also have the same question as everybody else: How in the hell did she get on that yacht?

Why is this a question? I’m glad you asked. 

Here’s a bit more about the movie: Robert is a mechanical engineer whose life mission to ensure his family’s legacy is this battery he built. He ends up getting some $75 million licensing deal from a company, and because he put Melinda through so much hell, he gives her a check for $10 million, buys her mother’s house back (it was foreclosed upon) and says sorry. She ends up trying to sue him for $150 million, blah blah blah. 

Taraji P. Henson and Lyriq Bent in Tyler Perry’s “Acrimony.” (Photo by Chip Bergmann)

On the day of Robert’s wedding, Melinda’s family has barricaded her in her house. They have every entrance and exit covered. Why do they do this? Because she used hydrochloric acid to destroy the new wife’s dress once. She’s stalked them and has basically voodoo doll’d both of their lives. It stands to reason that this acrimonious woman might try to harm them. But she’s barricaded in. Somehow she escaped (which is where I come in) and ended up on this yacht with a wedding dress, a gun and a license to kill. I made that last part up; she doesn’t need a license. 

So here’s the issue: If she’s being surveilled so heavily, how in the hell did she get out, find this yacht, board this yacht and get to the foolywang? I’d like to offer a possible chain of events. 

Aight, so boom. 

She’s in the house seething, right? Her family got her on lock, but they’re Black, and at some point, somebody’s going to get food. She’s crazy, so she can wait for anything. She already knows when the wedding is because she’s a stalker and stalkers know when to stalk people; otherwise, they’d just be coincidentalists. So she waits for the Popeyes run (did you know there’s no apostrophe in Popeyes? Gets me every time), and as soon as she realizes the weak link is gone, she cuts the screen—we see a cut screen in the movie. 

Also, the family member who let her out of sight? Done, bro; you cannot trust him to do anything from here on out. 

Anyway, she’s out of the house, but she has to get to the marina. I don’t know how she knew they were getting on a yacht (or which one) but let’s just assume they put all of that information on their wedding website. Robert was dumb enough to write her a PERSONAL CHECK for $10 million with his actual home address on it, so anything’s possible. So on their wedding site, they put the time of the wedding and when they’d be at the yacht, the name of the yacht and how long they’d be out to sea on said yacht, which gives a crazy person all of the information they need to enact their maximum crazy.

So yeah, she has to get to the marina, but the family has her on lock. As it turns out, she has on some really good running shoes, and since she knows the time and location, she decides to go for a run for both fresh air and to spend time with her thoughts so she can be maximum pissed when she gets there. Now, she manages to make this, let’s say 10 mile run in probably record time AND holding a wedding dress and semi-automatic handgun, but it’s night outside, so nobody sees, and possibly people think she’s a crackhead. Thankfully, she did not run by any police on this 10-mile, not-quite-but-almost half-marathon. I’m not sure what shoes she wore, but considering what she had to hold, they had to be top-of-the-line running shoes; she’s a millionaire, after all. 

Alright, so at the marina, she slides past all of the people who might notice a woman running by with a wedding dress and gun. Because she’s a millionaire, she’s been studying for her ninja exam and aced the “stealth mode” part of the exam. This was important because not only did she manage to run by anybody else throwing parties on their boats—there’s always somebody throwing a party on a boat in a marina—she also had to sneak on the boat with a wedding dress and a gun past the whole ass crew and have her homegirl show up and do the same who does her makeup who doesn’t ask questions. Why? Because Melinda then had to take a shower, put on the wedding dress and get her makeup done before Robert and Diana (the new wife, played by Crystle Stewart) show up with enough time for the makeup artist (unseen and uncredited) to get off of the boat. 

It is also possible, though less likely, that she put on the wedding dress and gun at home and perhaps power walked to the marina but still nobody noticed, and thus called the police. 

The movie ends with Melinda getting caught on an anchor after shooting several people, including Robert, who she is about to hit with an ax Lizzie Borden style. Oh, the anchor pulls her into the ocean, where she presumably drowns as an engagement ring floats to the surface.

So yeah, I’m saying she ran the whole way because we have no proof to the contrary. IF this movie comes out even a year later, I’m saying she used one of those apps for a scooter or bike to get there. I don’t think she put the wedding dress in a bag because she wasn’t sure if there’d be a steamer on the yacht, and it wasn’t wrinkled, so I’m assuming she did carry it the whole way with a hanger. 

So yeah, that’s what I think happened. You’re welcome.

Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest) but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

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