The Family That Preys movie review
The Family That Preys movie photo
I enjoy Tyler Perry movies a lot and recently watched The Family That Preys. Alfre Woodard does a phenomenal job playing Alice, a religious mother and grandmother that wants the best for her family. Kathy Bates also gives a great performance as Woodard's friend, Charlotte Cartwright. The unlikely pair met thirty years prior when Charlotte, a multimillionaire was trying to assist her husband and business partner in getting Alice to sell her property as part of a new development. Alice would not budge. Charlotte appreciates her passion and they remain friends ever since.
In the next thirty years, these two friends are always there for each other and well, with one of them being so wealthy and the other not, sometimes elaborate gifts were given by the former to the latter. One of those gifts was a beautiful wedding ceremony for Alices's daughter, Andrea, played by Sanaa Lathan.
As evidenced in my other film reviews, I, like most moviegoers, really appreciate when an actor can show such a great range of ability. In The Family That Preys, Sanaa Lathan convincingly plays Andrea, a very selfish and deviant role that we are not used to seeing her play as we remember her from films such as Love and Basketball.
Alice is so happy to be seeing her daughter getting married and so thankful to her friend Charlotte for funding the beautiful wedding, but Andrea is bitter. Immediately we see red flags. Andrea is whining about everything. She does not like her dress (which had been Alice's). She tells her sister Pam played by Taraji P. Henson (who also showed us an actor's great range in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) that their mother is acting like a "mammie" by taking handouts from Charlotte. Pam rolls her eyes and says that Andrea is so disrespectful and had better not embarrass their mom.
Well the disrespect continues and escalates, as four years later Andrea is cheating on her husband, Chris (played by Rockmond Dunbar)with Charlotte's son, William Cartwright (played by Cole Hauser). Not only does she have no regard for her wedding vows but she accepts lavish monetary gifts from William to the point where she soon has over $270,000 in a separate bank account unbeknownst to her husband.
Chris is a loving, doting man who is trying his best for his family. Although he does not know that Andrea is cheating until later, he does realize that she does not respect him. While she works in the corporate office closely alongside William, Chris works for the same company in construction. When he tries to share his ideas with her about starting his own construction company, she says that he will never be William. When he suggests that her close (working) relationship with William might be used as leverage to set up a meeting for him, she says William "does not see [have meetings with] construction workers".
Chris is still hopeful with his ideas and shares them with Pam's husband, Ben played by Tyler Perry. He is hoping that Ben will be his partner in his efforts. Ben is very reluctant but goes to a bank with Chris to request a loan. They get turned away, told that what they are requesting is "impossible". Dejected, Chris goes to the teller to request just $40 from his account when he learns about the other account ($270,000) his wife is secretly keeping. He is shell shocked and does not mention it to Ben until later when they are back to work. He begs Ben not to mention anything to Pam lest is get back to Andrea. He wants to confront her himself. He is still very naive about how his wife got the money even though her salary is just 65,000 a year. She says that she got the money legitimately from bonuses and turns the accusing tone on him saying that it is her money and he should mind his business. He tries to believe her but is confused and hurt by her reaction. She says once again that he will never be William, who is charming, smart, rich, etc. implying that Chris is not any of those things.
When Andrea finally admits that the money is a gift from William, also married, and with whom she is having an affair, everything hits the fan. Chris is a doting, gentle, and loving husband no more but a man scorned and chaos ensues.
Alice is very saddened by what develops while in a parallel event she learns that her great friend, Charlotte is succumbing to Alzheimers disease. It is while on a wonderful life changing trip cross country with Charlotte to see sights such as the Grand Canyon that Alice learns of her friend's failing health.
This story like many of Tyler Perry's movies is about love, friendship, family, heartache and mending. The Family that Preys does not have as many comedic moments as most of Tyler Perry's other work but it has all the life lessons.
I rate it 3.5/5
Written and Directed by: Tyler Perry
Produced by: Tyler Perry, Roger M. Bobb and others
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Starring: Alfre Woodard, Kathy Bates, Sanaa Lathan, Cole Hauser, Taraji P. Henson, Rockmond Dunbar, Tyler Perry, Robin Givens, Kadee Strickland and others
Running Time: 111 minutes
This movie also features one of the great songs by Lee Ann Womack: I Hope You Dance.