When seduction becomes obsession,
the last person you can trust is yourself.
This will shock folks who know me well: I’m falling out of love with Tyler Perry. It started when he became a partners with Oprah Winfrey in OWN and decided to air his television series exclusively on OWN which many of his fans can’t afford to watch.
It escalated last night when I watched the ending of Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. As a survivor of childhood sexual molestation, Mr. Perry is intimately familiar with how a predator grooms his prey. In Temptation, Harley (a social media billionaire) brilliantly grooms Judith (an in-house therapist at a matchmaking firm). Judith’s husband Brice is a pharmacist. He’s boring in bed, doesn’t support her career aspirations, and can’t seem to remember her birthday.
Harley could be called a player except for the fact that this is a case of sexual harassment. Harley is about to invest big bucks in the matchmaking business, and Judith has been chosen to close the deal. Harley seduces her more artfully than YoYo Ma plays the cello.
He starts with flattering comments about her client assessment tool and kicks it up another notch by inquiring about her assessment of him. She’s brilliant, but she is oblivious to his abusive, predatory instincts. This sucks on two levels: she’s clearly not going to screen out abusive matchmaking clients, and she’s easy prey for Harley.
He baits the trap with a promise to make her career dream come true: private practice. Judith became a bird in Harley’s gilded cage when Harley remembered her birthday and Brice forgot. Again.
I’ve been sexually harassed more times than I can count, and I’m intimately familiar with this game. Career doors don’t open to women who say “no.” In too many professions, the only route to the top is on the lay-away plan.
I was mesmerized that Mr. Perry so brilliantly captured the dynamic dance between powerful, predator boss and his ambitious yet vulnerable and naive employee prey. I love his movies because he typically protects and defends naive women from abusive predators.
He didn’t in Temptation. Harley beat the hell out of Judith and gave her HIV.
‘Tyler Perry’s Temptation’: Let’s Talk About That Ending [HuffPost review by Mike Ryan]