LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – There are a lot of subplots in the documentary film “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story.” There’s the abuse aspect that Perry endured from a man who was not his biological father.
There’s the tender love letter moments the film uncovers with his mother. Of course, in the middle of the pain of trying to seek validation, the creative mind of Perry came alive to bring him to the point of becoming an icon in the movie industry.
All these twists and turns make “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story,” which premiered at the 2023 AFI Fest, a worthy and moving film of triumph and a movie that allows us to cheer for the good guy. In this case, Perry is someone audiences will want to root for no matter their socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Today, Perry serves as an inspiration to millions of people around the globe, thanks largely to his meteoric alter ego character Mabel “Madea” Earlene Simmons whom he created. The film works well as it takes us to the touching moments he shares with his son and how Perry embraces fatherhood.
As a doting dad, it is clear that Perry relishes growing into his ever-evolving role as a parent, something the film distinguishes between the unbearable loathing the man who married his mother had for him. As the documentary film unravels bits and pieces of the self-assured Perry, we see a vulnerable and caring individual who thrives to prove his lot in life.
Perry’s calm and matter-of-fact storytelling of the verbal and physical abuse he absorbed as a youngster has translated into the man that he is today. The empathy that he shows to others today is merely a reflection of the empathy he did not receive growing up from a person who he learns later on is not his true father.
In charting the course of his life, “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” takes the audience on a journey of someone overcoming the odds of beating back abuse and homelessness to being a major power broker in the land of Hollywood. With Perry’s blessing, the film is tastefully done and keeps you riveted throughout.
You smile. You find yourself cheering. Then are times when the tears are going to come down your cheeks. However, if there is a small critique of the film it would be that that there are a couple of topics that I had hoped the documentary would fully tackle. For whatever reason, the filmmakers fail to dive into Perry’s homeless situation.
Instead, we get a glossed-over superficial marker about a rather important matter, considering the glaring homeless problem in Los Angeles and all over the country. Homelessness is a huge issue, and giving this subject a little more depth might have gone a long way in adding more of a human element touch to the film.
What is also missing are the players who starred in Perry’s many hit shows and movies. An interview here and a comment there from any of the Black actors whom Perry has employed throughout the years would have been a nice addition to the film.
But alas, this film is not the actor’s story. It is called the “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” and its major strength is celebrating the greatness of the longtime film director and actor. What Perry survived is nothing short of admirable and a blessing to so many people.
Surviving abuse is real and it is a subject in the Black community that has historically been ignored or brushed aside. The fact that Perry is able to share his story about overcoming abuse will no doubt strike a nerve with other survivors like myself. What also moved me the most was Perry’s loving tribute to his mother.
The connection Perry shared with his mother is irreplaceable. It is a bond that has been beautifully forged together like a sword piercing through a granite rock.
There is a point in the film where I find myself picking my handkerchief out of my pocket because the scenes where the film shares the tender moments between Perry and his mom remind me of the times I spent with my own mother.
Sure, the documentary shows off the glitz and glamour of Hollywood when it unveils Perry’s grand studio (330-acre) called the Tyler Perry Studios and it showcases the hobnobbing of some top-tier actors and celebrities at the grand opening of the Atlanta movie playground. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s the intimate and subtle moments in the film that make this documentary worth seeing.
Dennis has covered and written about politics, crime, social justice, sports, and entertainment. Dennis currently covers the NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA, and Olympic sports. Dennis is the editor of News4usonline.com and serves as the publisher of the Compton Bulletin newspaper. He earned a journalism degree from Howard University.