Be it heartbreak, abuse, or depression, media mogul Tyler Perry has experienced his fair share of struggles. Physical and emotional abuse were the norm through his childhood but he was able to get by through his involvement in church and his mother’s love.
Directed by Gelila Bekele, Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story, takes a deep, behind-the-scenes dive into the life of Tyler Perry. Known for his stage plays, TV shows, and films, Tyler Perry gives a firsthand account on his life. His character is supported by first-person commentary from notables like Killer Mike, Kenya Barris, Whoopi Goldberg, Gayle King, and select family members.
Perry’s credits his faith for all of his success and you’ll see his early rooting in the church in the film. He’s a fine example of Romans 5:4: “Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” He suffered, persevered through his trauma, and used that to build his character. Because of this, his hope was stronger than ever (and those close to him testify to that). He was able to use those past traumas as content, building a successful stage play series after trial and error. Once he was put in the right situation, his plays took off.
He was on the road from 1998 to 2004 doing 300 performances a year. He had a mailing list (because social media wasn’t a thing back then) and it had a few million people registered. Because of this, he could send out a single email and sellout theaters and arenas before he even began to market them.
You’ll ride along for the highs and experience the lows, but he takes everything in stride. You can tell from the film exactly how much his mother impacted his life. His love for his mother was so pure and beautiful. He reflects the Christ-like patience that Christians are to convey. The love, the kindness, the patience. Two examples of that: There’s a clip of Spike Lee from years past condemning Perry’s “Madea” character. Years later, the mogul named a soundstage after Lee at his Tyler Perry Studios. Audiences will learn a lot about the tumultuous relationship with Perry’s father, but even with that, he still took the higher road and forgave him (and even blessed him financially).
Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story gets a 9.5 out of 10. This is the “can-do” film of the year and audiences should feel empowered after its conclusion. The film is a motivating and powerful showpiece of love, forgiveness, hard work.
Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story is now available
Photos: Courtesy of Prime Video