The movie Tyler Perry: The Family That Preys is about Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) who is a white wealthy socialite and her dear friend Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard), an African-American working class woman of high ideals. These two have enjoyed a lasting friendship throughout many years after all the ups and downs of life.
Alice Pratt, a hard working Christian woman, who raised her two daughters Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and Pam (Taraji Henson) while managing a simple diner of her own. While Charlotte owns a very profitable construction company in the area in which they both live. After graduation from college Andrea decides to work in a construction corporation owned by Charlotte Cartwright while her sister stays with Alice to work in the diner.
Andrea is married to construction worker Chris (Rockmond Dunbar), who works in the same corporation as his wife but dreams of starting up his own business with his brother-in-law Ben (Tyler Perry). Throughout the movie Alice’s self-centered newlywed daughter Andrea is betraying her trusting husband Chris by engaging in a torrid affair with her boss and mothers best friend’s son William (Cole Hauser).
While cheating on his wife Jillian (Kadee Strickland) with a string of ongoing dalliances with his mistress Andrea, William’s true focus is to replace Abby Dexter (Robin Givens) the COO of his mother’s lucrative construction corporation. Meanwhile, Alice’s other daughter Pam, a kind but no nonsense woman married to a hard working construction worker Ben, tries to steer the family in a more positive direction.
While Alice travels with Charlotte on a road trip, the ambition and infidelity of William triggers a series of events that will affect relationships in both families. Suddenly, their lives become mired in turmoil as their adult children’s extramarital affairs, unethical business practices and a dark paternity secret derails family fortunes and unravel the lives of all involved.
This movie is based in a modern day southern city, mostly likely Atlanta, Georgia, and revolves around two families from completely different financial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Both of the main characters are business owners but that is one of few things they have in common. Alice is woman who is very religious woman but it comes to Charlotte’s religion it is implied that she is not very religious at all. Both women own their own businesses. Alice who owns a diner is depicted to be struggling to get by; while Charlotte is the head of a major construction company has everything she always wanted and seems to want for nothing.
The educational level of these characters is not stated, but it seems that any education has nothing to do with life experiences, their friendship, and how they run their businesses. Alice is depicted to be a loving mother to her two daughters, while Charlotte comes off to be cold and harsh to her son and daughter-in-law. Both women are the matriarch of their families and are without a husband. Charlotte lives in a big mansion that sits on top of a hill. While Alice lives in town. Both women seem to be well known in the community. Alice is known for her gentle kind heart and Charlotte for her ruthless and witty business practices.
Both women have various family issues that seem to be ignored by them throughout the movie. This denial of the past seems to brew its ugly head towards the end of the movie and causes both women to confront the issues they have been putting on the back burner. Alice tries to pass on her religious and moral beliefs to both her daughters, but Andrea seems to have plans of her own. She is very resentful towards her mother for letting her father run off with another woman. She feels like her mother should have fought for her father instead of letting him run off with some woman and leaving them behind broke and struggling.
Alice tries to explain to Andrea that what happened to them happened thirty years ago and the path she is going down by having an affair with William isn’t going to come out the way she expects. Alice tells hers daughter that she needs to try and let go of what happened in the past and that William and her are from two different worlds. She tries to tell her daughter that he will not leave his wife and child for her and that she is ruining her life by have this affair. She tells her daughter that this was not how she raised her children. She tells her daughter that she can’t make herself happy bringing misery to others. Andrea tells her mother she’s going to enjoy the ride all the way. On the other hand Charlotte doesn’t trust her son or his intentions. It seems that he reminds her of his father.
She makes this evident when her daughter-in-law Jillian comes to her and tells her that she found out that William is having an affair and it has been going on for years. She tells her daughter-in-law that she thinks she’s weak and that’s why she’s never really cared much for her. She explains to her daughter-in-law that in order to be a Cartwright woman she has to be able to en dour many things to enjoy the comforts that comes with the title. She tells her that his father did the same thing to her and Cartwright men are the kind of men that wonder and they have to be the kind of women that stay a few steps ahead. She explains to her that she now has the upper hand in the relationship and she holds all the cards and it’s up to her how she plays them.
Both the Cartwright and the Pratt families have unhealthy coping skills and have big problems with denial. Whether is the way Charlotte interacts with her son and daughter in-law or the feelings of resentment that Andrea feels towards her mother for letting her father leaving them for another woman. Both of these families have unresolved issues that affect their everyday lives and the decisions that they make. This is depicted in the movie by various actions by its main characters.
Things such as: Andrea’s unhealthy relationship with a married man, William going behind his mother’s back to try and steal the company from up under her or even Charlotte, unbeknownst to Alice, convincing her to take a road trip West after finding out she has been diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Each person in this movie has a difficult problem with facing the truth that seems to be staring them right in the face. Each family’s core issues and their inability to resolve these problems are tearing them apart.
I believe if it wasn’t for her Alice’s strong belief in God she would have buckled under the stress of her families poor decisions. Because she believed that when trouble hit if she stayed faithful and prayed that everything would work itself out. Whereas Charlotte believed that she controlled her own destiny through strategy and manipulation. The core differences between these two families are that the Cartwright’s believed that money and power are the most important things in life. Whereas the Pratt family, with exception of Andrea, believed that good things come to those who are faithful and good to others.
· Perry, T. (Director). (2008). Tyler Perry: The Family That Preys [Motion Picture].
· (2010). Retrieved April 28, 2010, from The Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt114279
· Friedman, M., Bowen, V., Jones, E. (2003). Family Nursing: Research, Theory, and Practice 5th edition. Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson Education, Inc.