Filled with a mix of comedy and drama, the film “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” is based on the immensely popular play of the same name written by Tyler Perry. The story focuses on Helen McCarter (Kimberly Elise), who has seemingly had the perfect life with husband Charles McCarter (Steve Harris). Over the years, Helen has been a faithful and loving wife, while Charles built a successful and lucrative career as a prominent Atlanta attorney. They wear the latest fashions, drive the nicest cars, have all the possessions they need, and they live on an expansive estate complete with an extravagant mansion, swimming pool, tennis court and all the trappings of wealth – a little piece of paradise away from the city. However, on the eve of their 18th wedding anniversary, Helen’s paradise begins to crumble as Charles announces that he wants a divorce. He abruptly and literally tosses Helen out of the mansion to make room for the other woman.
With all of her possessions packed in a moving van, Helen starts on her journey to put the pieces of her life back together. Through the assistance of her friends, family, faith, and a twist of fate, Helen finds the strength and empowerment she needs to get control of her circumstances. She also finds that the tragic events of her life soon become comic, especially with the guidance and help – mostly unsolicited, by the way – of her pot-smoking, gun-toting, and much beloved, grandmother figure Madea (Tyler Perry).
Director Darren Grant brings Tyler Perry’s vision to the screen by intricately weaving together a mix of drama and comedy to tell the universal experience of broken hearts, redemption, forgiveness, recovery, new found love, inner strength and the importance of family and faith as revealed through a cast of colorful and sometimes familiar characters.
Synopsis from Lions Gate Films. (2002, 116 mins, DVD).
Black Cinema House | 7200 South Kimbark Ave.
This screening is part of the Friday Film Forum, a series presented in conjunction with Professor Jacqueline Stewart’s University of Chicago course, “African American Cinema Since 1970.”