Diary of a Mad Black Woman

2007-02-09 18:11

After 18 years of marriage and loyalty, Helen (Kimberly Elise) is thrown out of her mansion by her husband Charles (Steve Harris), to make room for his mistress and her children. Broke and heartbroken, Helen moves in with her opinionated grandmother Madea (Tyler Perry) who gives her the strength to fight back, forgive and open her heart to a new love, Orlando (Shemar Moore).


To understand Diary of a Mad Black Woman, it’s important to know a little about the man behind it. Tyler Perry, writer and executive producer, first shot to fame in America as a writer and producer of plays aimed at the African-American audience. Diary was one such play that became highly successful. Perry grew up in the South where life is about church, reading the bible for recreation and soul food.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman is set in Atlanta so it’s no surprise that the movie is full of all those things. Even though Perry makes it cool to be Christian in the movie, he does not stifle the movie with too much religious preaching. Instead the moral themes and values breath life into the movie and (hopefully) uplift the audience.

Forgiveness is the main value explored throughout the movie. Cecily Tyson character Myrtle best sums it up: “When somebody hurts you they take power over you, if you don't forgive them then they keeps the power.”

Sounds very serious and heavy, but it’s well balanced with side-splitting laughter. Most of the humour is centered around the main character, Helen’s grandmother, Madea, played by Perry himself. His phyiscal comedy and smart, snappy one liners are hilarious. When Helen’s mother, Myrtle, asks Madea when she’ll be coming to church, her response is, “I'll be at church when they get a smoking section.” Another comic character played by Perry is Madea’s sidekick and brother Joe, who provides the family-friendly toilet humour.

Madea isn’t only smart, she’s feisty too. She dishes out advice and has more street smarts than all the members of hip-hop crew NWA put together. Her advice includes encouraging her younger family members to stand up for themselves, forgive, accept others, have patience and be moral. But she doesn’t always practice what she preaches. Madea carries a gun in her handbag to threaten or pistol whip an offender into place. She is quick to produce her gun when Helen tellls her she will not be getting any money when Charles divorces her. Madea’s response is, “You can get 'da money two ways, from his checking account voluntarily, or his insurance policy (taking out her gun) by involuntary manslaughter. What's it gonna be?”

The supporting actors are well cast. Kimberly Elise is convincing as a weak, emotionally and physical abused wife who turns on the rage when scorned. Steve Harris, formerly of TV’s The Practice, is the antagonist, an absusive husband and cheater, Charles. It’s easy to initiallly hate Charles but, like the other characters in the movie, the audience will soon forgive him.

Eye-candy is Orlando, well played by Shemar Moore. He is the love interest and represents all that is good. Orlando sticks around even when Helen is holding on her all-men-are-the-same baggade.

The movie does have weaknesses. There are several continuity errors such a slightly wet shirt that is soaking wet in the next scene and the microphone makes some unwanted appearances from time to time. Overall, however, this is a nice little feel-good movie, and a great way to while away the time.

- Nomfundo H. Mbaba+Tshabalala

What some women in the audience said:

Gugu Mkhabela, 25, poet/writer
”The movie isn't necessarily about revenge as the title implies, but in a way promotes christianity and about how forgiveness frees you as a person. In my view it's basically a tale on Karma, forgiveness and love, it's hilarious too!”

Linda Mali, 22, musician
“I thought Diary of a Mad Black Woman had the ability to make you go through many emotions in the two hour duration of the film. You feel happy, then sad, then angry, then confused. The film also has a moral and a life lesson that money does not make you, but it certainly can break you.”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Diary of a Mad Black Woman is about turning that fury around and freeing yourself from anger, with loads of laughs along the way.

gaynor 2006/11/03 11:44 AM
diary of a mad black woman i totally enjoy the movie, it was funny, great and powerful!!!!!
Amanda 2006/11/03 1:23 PM
Using Christianity to make money The director screened this film at churches across the American South - for a price of course - and made an absolute mint. Now Hollywood is planning to do the same with certain movies. What a cynical world we live in.
PAMELLA F. JAJI 2006/11/05 2:04 PM
Ms i enjoyed them movie,"GIRL POWER" it was so empowering,and could be a relief to women in the same predicament
nokubulela 2006/11/07 3:31 PM
lovely i thoroughly enjoyed the movie and have gone back to watch it again. its good, wholesome comedy that deserves support for the message it brings across.
ste miy 2006/11/09 10:53 PM
diary of a mad black woman 25 from jhb. At first when i heard about it, it sounded too seriuos for my liking at least i thought, somehow Helen(character) taught me that you either choose to retain the past that defines you or take it as a lesson
Zama 2006/11/12 9:28 PM
Beautiful i thought the movie was beautiful, even my partner admitted that after viewing & @ 1st he thought it was another black movie!
khosi 2006/11/13 3:08 PM
Refreshing Most movies are fantasy and just entertain , but this was so revent and realisting, especially because I went thru something similar, it helped feel confident about starting over again on my own.
MC 2006/11/14 8:47 AM
Lacking towards the end I thought it was lacking towards its end. I think if you want revenge you must carry it through and not stop halfway, they say revenge is sweet afterall. And if someone has hurt you badly you mustn't feel obliged to help them when they are in a bad situation like charles, what goes around comes around afterall. But overall I enjoyed the movie.
Lucy 2006/11/18 2:48 PM
The Diary of a black woman Weird movie didnt understand the concept, why call it diary of a black woman why not just woman? the name has no relevance with the movie, we all have different circumstances. Dont label it as a racial thing, it gets annoying.
GODWIN 2006/11/19 8:44 PM
zola 2006/11/21 1:46 PM
Diary ofa black woman the movie was good, revenge is always sweet
Mamello 2006/11/23 4:18 PM
DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN I think that the movie is absolutly wonderful its has been a while since their was so much hype about a movie expecially one where there is religion envolved its uplifting and beutiful the error that are their make the movie so much more really!! In a country like SA where we are dealing with so much pain created by our racest pasts its shows people that they hold the power to take back control of their lives and move on from the past!
julie 2006/12/03 3:24 PM
Shemar Moore is awesome I completely loved this movie...so much that I went back to the video store & bought it the next day. Orlando makes you believe that there really are good men out there & you really can trust & fall in love again. Plus he's the sexiest man alive!
Valentine 2006/12/04 1:10 PM
Diary of a mad black woman This is one of those rare beautiful movies that I happened to watch by accident; I loved every minute of it especially the way Tyler mixes religion and life with ease to create a humourous yet touching story that hits home to most.
mike dankyi 2007/01/05 4:33 PM
Gladys 2007/03/05 1:30 PM
Forgiveness This movie taught me the mistry of forgiveness it helped me a lot in that area. Keep up the good work family reunion is the best. Thank you
neo 2007/09/07 4:14 PM
good to be black This is a goog and bad black brth's...Orland looking hot...and that you should love youself first and for for anyone that looks like Orland...
noz 2007/09/07 4:16 PM
BRths Its so nice and funny that a man can put all that together for every woman that get hurt by a man....as he is close to man....and fo him to do taht ia so much B--tifull
Lucille 2008/08/25 3:15 PM
Substance Abuse Cousellor Forgiveness Looking at the title i thought that the movie would about a psycho woman wanting revenge, but this movie just taught me again that forgiveness is vital, because by not forgiving you are actually drinking poison everyday hoping that the other person will die, but the one who dies spiritually is actually you. The movie has lots of lessons to be learned about life.
Lucille 2008/08/25 3:23 PM
Substance Abuse Cousellor Looking at the title i thought that the movie would be about a psycho woman wanting revenge, but this movie just taught me again that forgiveness is vital, because by not forgiving you are actually drinking poison everyday hoping that the other person will die, but the one who dies spiritually is actually you. The movie has lots of lessons to be learned about life.
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