The Family That Preys
Written and Directed by Tyler Perry
I'd seen The Family That Preys once before but the second time, after watching for mise en scene really opened my eyes. Watching for setting, character and lighting really made the film a little deeper for me because of the thought and the work that was put into it. The film is about backstabbing and social climbing but in a family setting. It's seen through each of the characters eyes at least once, so we're just going to focus on one.
The movie begins with Kathy Bate's character Charlotte walking out of her home checking and double checking everything for an wedding happening that day. The weather outside if perfect with just a hint of cloudiness. She's dressed brightly and as we meet her best friend Alice, who's daughter she is throwing the wedding for, we can see that she is too. Everyone is good spirits, though each of them seems to run into a slight conflict in the beginning, requiring them to request a drink from the waiters attending the wedding. I noticed that right off the bat; the alcohol as a stress reliever. Charlotte and Pam(Alice's other daughter) request an alcoholic beverage after dealing with Andrea, the bride to be and with Alice, her worried mother.
Here's where we meet Andrea, the spoiled selfish bitch that's gone from rags to riches because of her Harvard degree in accounting. She's always been the snotty type, but she now believes she has the right to treat anyone "below" her like the scum on the bottom of her shoe.
After watching for the things that differentiated her from the rest of the characters in the film it became a lot more interesting. Her clothes were always high fashion though the colors were understated in the beginning; mostly greys and deep blues because of all of the secrets she was keeping. It was clear that she thought she was better than everyone else, not just by her attitude, but by her way of dress. When we finally get to see her house, it's in perfect condition. Not in the way that someone with obsessive compulsive disorder would have it, it's more or less she takes pride in the way that people see her; there's even a bit of sex appeal with the fire going in the fireplace. She has the baby blue walls and beige furniture to compliment. Though she has a son, it doesn't look lived in at all. We also only see him twice in the film and when we do see him, he's being babysat by her older sister. It's almost like a fascade she's holding up because she's never at the house but its perfect to the naked eye, almost like her.
But later on in the film, once she begins to stop caring about keeping her secrets, her dress becomes more provocative. On the night that it's finally revealed to someone that she is cheating on her husband( William, her boss and the man she is cheating with is caught kissing her in a hotel hall by his wife) her dress is jet black but her jewelry is the most extravagant that we see the entire time. I think this was there to reflect what was going on inside: She really has no soul to be doing what she's doing, but she dresses it up really nice.
Later on, when it's the climax of the film, her husband has just found out that she is cheating on him with her boss, that their son belongs to her boss and not him and that she was planning to leave him high and dry her dress is fire engine red. She's stopped caring about what happens to her old life and she no longer feels bogged down by her husband or their marriage. This shows in her dress and her attitude contrasts with the color of the dress; she's even colder than usual.
In the end, when her husband leaves her, her family seems to be doing ok without her and her boss denies her and his son her dress becomes low and quiet. She wears pastels of deep grey and blue again but this time instead of suits and pumps she has on sneakers, and a sweatpants.
This film was very well done in terms of mise en scene:-)