My Mistake review – Tyler Perry’s cheesy Netflix suspense film becomes increasingly absurd.

My Mistake review – Tyler Perry’s cheesy Netflix suspense film becomes increasingly absurd.


In Tyler Perry’s sensational and provocative movie Mea Culpa, there are brief moments of affordable entertainment sprinkled throughout, some deliberately included by the director, while others seem unintentional. The film centers around a woman named Mea, who, like many female characters in Perry’s works, is portrayed as being at fault. Perry has become known for his tendency to punish his female characters, particularly when they express doubt or lose faith in their husbands, regardless of how abhorrent their actions may be. This is evident in his appalling 2018 thriller Acrimony, where he had the audacity to squander and scold Taraji P Henson’s character.

Kelly Rowland portrays a strong and influential lawyer who becomes the target of the protagonist. She is stuck in a loveless marriage with a man who was fired from his job as an anesthetist for showing up to work intoxicated. He is also controlled by his overbearing mother, played by Kerry O’Malley, who goes to extreme and laughable lengths. When the protagonist is asked to defend a wealthy artist, Zayir (Trevante Rhodes, known for his role in Moonlight), accused of killing his girlfriend, she initially declines due to the seemingly impossible nature of the case and the fact that her brother-in-law is the opposing lawyer. However, when her tyrannical and terminally ill mother-in-law demands that she not take on the case, the protagonist decides to rebel and ultimately finds herself developing feelings for her client. The story then takes a turn towards kinky sexual encounters.

Perry seems to be targeting the popular 80s and 90s films like Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct, but for those who enjoy this now-defunct genre, there is still some nostalgia to be found as we relive familiar tropes (such as the Fatal Attraction-inspired freight elevator scene). The chemistry between Rowland and Rhodes is entertaining, with a brief appearance from RonReaco Lee who is often underutilized. Despite the low budget, Perry understands the allure of these movies lies in watching attractive characters living extravagant lives in luxurious homes. However, Perry’s screenplay lacks the finesse of someone like Joe Eszterhas, and instead feels haphazardly put together, ready to fall apart at any moment. While Eszterhas may have lost his touch over time, he was once a master at crafting pulpy stories like this, knowing exactly when and how to engage his audience. Perry, on the other hand, struggles to even find the right buttons to push, resulting in a poorly paced and confusingly plotted thriller.

Based on the plot summary, the film is excessively stacked with characters and the actors struggle with melodramatic dialogue. The plot is needlessly busy and lacks focus. While it begins as an erotic thriller, it ultimately becomes a lackluster relationship drama before reaching a confusing climax with twists that make little sense. The director, Perry, has a penchant for surprising endings (as seen in his previous Netflix film, A Fall from Grace) but lacks the ability to provide adequate explanations. The final act is filled with implausible plot devices and nonsensical reveals that require rewinding to make sense of (though they ultimately do not). The absurdity of it all is somewhat entertaining but the film lacks cohesion and is overly serious to the point of being unintentionally campy.

This week, Perry announced that he chose to stop expanding his Atlanta studio after witnessing the capabilities of the contentious AI video creator, Sora. His reaction was a mix of shock and fascination, and he also mentioned that he has already incorporated AI into recent films. If Mea Culpa is an example of what Perry can produce without relying heavily on machines, it’s alarming to think about how much worse it could potentially be.

  • I regret to inform you that Mea Culpa can now be streamed on Netflix.