By T. A. Moreland for Harlem World Mag
Long term friends, Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) and Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard) are noticeably different. Cartwright is the wealthy owner of a successful construction company. Pratt proudly operates a small diner. They are also different in another way: Cartwright is white, Pratt black…
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… They each have children; Cartwright has one son, William (Cole Hauser) who runs the day-to-day operations of the family business. Pratt has two daughters. The social climbing, college educated, Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) who’s married to the uncomplicated and loyal William (Rockmond Dunbar). Andrea’s sister, Pam (Taraji Henson) works with their mother in the diner. She’s happily married to an easy going construction worker played by Tyler Perry. The fireworks begin when Charlotte’s and Alice’s family start working and playing together.
The Family That Preys reflects growth and maturity in Tyler Perry’s filmmaking. While his other films are amusing and entertaining, he has ventured into the most difficult film genre – the character driven film. These films are tricky because they don’t have the special effects of sci fi films or the antics of comedies to rely upon. There are just the characters and their lives. Perry succeeds in his attempt to tell a serious story.
Perry wrote and directed this movie. While it has some implausible and fairy tale-like features, it is a solid, compelling movie. This is a multi racial cast but race is the not primary focus. The Family That Preys reflects some of the deep bonds that Southern blacks and whites share but are rarely featured in movies.
Perry created rich, idiosyncratic characters and Oscar winners Kathy Bates, Alfre Woodard, Sanaa Latham seem custom made to play them. This the second time Latham has played Woodard’s daughter. They played mother and offspring in 2000 in the film, Love and Basketball.
Most of all this is a story that will make you laugh, make you think and make you care about the people on the screen – and that’s what good filmmaking is all about. It gets a “SEE IT” rating!
The Family That Preys is 111 minutes in length and rate PG-13 for sexual references and some violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. 51 min.
Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys