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Tyler Perry's MEA CULPA Review (starring Kelly Rowland)

Release date: 23 Feb 2024 on Netflix

Kelly Rowland. That’s it. That was all the convincing I needed to make me watch this movie - a romantic thriller written, produced and directed by Tyler Perry.

Kelly Rowland on Mea Culpa movie poster

Mea Culpa. When I first saw the title the first thought that came to mind was ‘culpa mia’, Spanish for ‘My Fault’. Was Tyler Perry’s intention to show through the title alone that what viewers were about to see was a culmination of bad decisions and actions that Mea gets herself into that she only has herself to blame for? Yes, yes he is. Or, at least that is what I believe as I haven’t heard him actually say this. But I like this narrative so I’ll stick to it .😉

Kelly Rowland plays criminal defence attorney Mea Harper, who takes on the case of a famous artiste, Zyair Malloy (Trevante Rhodes), who is accused of murdering his girlfriend. The prosecutor on the case also happens to be her brother-in-law Ray (Nick Sagar), which creates added friction between Mea, her husband Kal (Sean Sagar) and her husband’s family.

Now since this movie was released on Netflix, I have watched it twice. Yes. Twice. ‘Why twice?’ I hear you ask. Well after I had watched it on Friday (the day it was released) I had read and watched many reviews and they weren’t the least positive. This surprised me because I did enjoy it. Now don’t get me wrong, the movie lacked character development and left much to be desired, such as: Why did Mea’s mother-in-law hate her so much? Why didn’t Mea’s bestfriend, Charlise, who happens to also be married to her brother-in-law Ray, tell Mea that she had had an affair with Zyair? How did Mea become a sought after attorney when she is so easily influenced and gullible? Why did her Private Investigator Jimmy (RonReaco Lee) not send her the ‘complete’ evidence of the fact that Mea’s husband’s whole family was in the hotel room and he was not just there with his ‘mistress’? And whose blood was on the floor and whose skull was in the painting?!

SO MANY QUESTIONS! So little answers….

However, it still was not as bad as some people made it seem. Kelly Rowland gave a convincing performance as Mea and she and Trevante Rhodes gave great chemistry. It could be that some just have an issue with Tyler Perry, who has admitted to writing all his works by himself (Deadline, 2020), which I personally don’t have a problem with, but I seem to be in the minority here. Tyler Perry being criticized for not having a writers room has been a trending topic for a while and is one of the main reasons people give for why they believe his movies and tv shows appear as low effort or as ‘coonery buffoonery’ (Spike Lee 2009, Black Enterprise). One of those movies being 'A Fall From Grace' which was released in 2020. I can't lie, I actually LOVED that movie and was able to overlook all the bad wigs and ignore the background extras pretending to eat food.

Mea Culpa article from The Independent

Mea Culpa article from Screen Rant

Mea Culpa article from TechRadar

However, regardless of what you think about his previous shows or films, Mea Culpa is in fact not ‘one of the worst (films) ever made’. It's not the best, but it's not the worst. It’s a great film to have on in the background while cooking dinner, periodically looking over your shoulder to see what’s going on. Just kidding. And hey, I watched it twice which goes to show that I did really enjoy this movie. And actually, watching it for the second time did allow me to catch subtle moments that I had missed the first time which mad it more enjoyable the second time round and allowed other areas of the story to subsequently make sense to me. Additionally, the actors all do a great job with what they had. While I believe a lot was missing from the script, all characters were believable (except when the mother-in-law fell on Mea's phone and broke it. Tyler, why didn't Mea react?! 🥴) and the plot twist at the end was a revelation I was not expecting.

All in all, I do recommend this movie. It is not too full on and does not require too much cognitive engagement. A great movie to relax to after work.


IJFW rates Mea Culpa:


Mea Culpa rating by I Just Finished Work

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