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Tyler Perry’s latest film A Fall From Grace hit Netflix this weekend, and tells the story of Grace, an older woman who marries a younger man only to find out she seems to have been bamboozled. It’s the latest drama from the director to follow a similar character structure about a down and out woman or women, but if you as Perry, he’s not trying to be exploitive.
During a recent interview captured at the premiere of A Fall From Grace, Tyler Perry defended the type of female characters he’s written into his dramas, noting,
I’m always trying to send a message that you don’t have to deal with this shit. It’s not about making money off of a woman’s pain — it is about telling a story. And I wish that people, especially black women, would get off the fact of saying, ‘Oh, he’s making money off of black women.’
There have been some scathing commentaries published on this topic following the release of A Fall From Grace, but now Tyler Perry has addressed the topic bluntly, saying his stories are about choices people make, particularly women, and that they are choices that can be made differently. In fact, he feels like he's been a big advocate for females and particularly black females through his work. For A Fall From Grace, he's also talked about giving Crystal Fox, an industry veteran, her first big starring vehicle.
According to his comments at the premiere, which appeared over at Page Six, Tyler Perry also referenced his own relationship with his family and witnessing his mother get abused by his father while he himself was growing up. Perry has previously come forward to talk about the abuse he also suffered at the hands of Emmitt Perry Sr. He’s revealed before his mother had lied to him and told him growing up that Perry was his father and only later found out his “father” wasn’t really his biological father.
Despite reportedly being beaten by Emmitt Perry Sr. and later considering attempting suicide as a teenager related to his own abusive upbringing, Tyler Perry has also said that at least “that man” kept a roof over their heads and brought home the money he made working, so he still helps to support him monetarily, though he’s noted:
What I missed from him, being in a relationship, is also what he’s missing from me now. So he doesn’t have everything. He has what’s easy.
So far, A Fall From Grace is running at 36% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but Tyler Perry’s movies often aren’t the most critically acclaimed coming out each year. Still, that doesn’t mean the average Netflix user isn’t giving A Fall From Grace a go, particularly given Perry's work has always been at odds with the industry and he has also been open about his feelings regarding Hollywood and feeling 'ignored.'
As for how Tyler Perry came up with his murder-oriented and female-driven storyline, the director said on The View that he’d seen a documentary called Gideon’s Army.
…about the public defender’s office. I wanted to write a story, boy meets girl, I do that a lot where everything goes wrong. But this, the twist and turns in this one because there was a mother and her son duo that were going around the country grifting people. So I was reading that story as I was writing it. All of that stuff kind of showed up in the script. So, there's so many twists and turns, you're never going to be able to figure it out. I'm so glad it's going to be on Netflix so everyone can watch it at the same time.
Speaking of those twists, think what you will about how Tyler Perry handles his female characters, but whatever you do, don't share those twists that come throughout the movie itself. The director himself has also given us his final thoughts on that matter, so check 'em out before catching A Fall From Grace on Netflix.