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Film: The Family That Preys

This 2008 movie written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry is about the inner workings of two families—one upper crust and the other working class—that become inextricably linked by scandal. Wealthy socialite Charlotte Cartwright and her dear friend Alice, a working-class woman of high ideals, have enjoyed a lasting friendship throughout many years. Suddenly, their lives become mired in turmoil as their adult children's extramarital affairs, unethical business practices and a dark paternity secret threaten to derail family fortunes and unravel the lives of all involved. There are a lot of spoilers here due to the nature of the movie.

Tropes:

  • Affably Evil: William. He never loses his cool until the very end when he loses control of the company and his wife divorces him for cheating on her.
  • All-Star Cast: Alfre Woodard as Alice, Kathy Bates as Charlotte, Sanaa Lathan as Andrea, Taraji P. Henson as Andrea's sister Pam, and Robin Givens as Abigail Dexter.
  • Cool Old Lady: Charlotte isn't a nice woman, but she's definitely a bad ass.
  • Evil Matriarch: Played with in the character Charlotte, but ultimately averted.
  • Foil: Abby and Andrea. Abby worked hard to get where she is and is very loyal and honest to Charlotte. Andrea looks down on everyone and has no qualms with sleeping with William to get what she wants while feeding delusions of grandeur. Abby flat out tells Andrea "It is sisters like you that give us all a bad name."
  • Freudian Excuse: Andrea and Pam's father walked out on his family and left them in dire poverty, resulting in Andrea eventually becoming obsessed with money and social standing.
  • Henpecked Husband: Andrea's husband, and it is not Played for Laughs. She emasculates him at every single opportunity and viciously shoots down any attempts of his to be a loving man towards her.
  • Jerkass: William Cartwright.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Charlotte and Alice, in a rare older lady version.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: William gets divorced and loses control of his company and Andrea finally gets called out for the affair and William leaves her.
  • Melodrama
  • Mighty Whitey: Andrea feels this is why Charlotte paid for her wedding.
  • The Mistress: Andrea to William.
  • Odd Couple: Charlotte and Alice.
  • Open Secret: Everyone knows about Andrea and William, except Andrea's husband.
  • Playing Against Type: Sanaa Lathan. She is mostly known in her roles from Brown Sugar and Love and Basketball, in which she plays headstrong, independent but ultimately good women. Most people were shocked to find out she's one of the antagonists and that she played it so well.
  • Rich Bitch: Andrea, in spades.
  • Southern Belle: Charlotte.
  • Shout-Out: To Driving Miss Daisy. When Charlotte gets a new car, Alice asks where Morgan Freeman is.
  • Stealth Pun: The title is a play on the old saying, "The family that prays together stays together."
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Charlotte. We see her as an efficient businesswoman and a force to be reckoned with, while being very condescending to her daughter-in-law. However, she is also a very good and honest friend to Alice, and the two of them share equal standing in their friendship. Charlotte confides in Alice that she has Alzheimer's and begs her not to let her son put her in a home, and she later gives her daughter-in-law valuable advice on what to do when she finds out about William's affair with Andrea.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Andrea's husband would not believe Andrea was cheating on him until she literally said it to his face, despite the fact that everyone and their mom knew she and William were an item and there were signs everywhere.
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass: William's wife once she finds out about the affair. She shows up and tells Andrea to stay the hell away from her family and then promptly divorces William.
  • Villainous Breakdown: William suffers a minor one towards the end when he gets his just desserts.
  • Wham Line: "Huh. That's the same room his father used to use."
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Andrea's son.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Many. Alice's daughter Andrea is sleeping with Charlotte's son William, and both Charlotte and William's father had many affairs.

The Facts in the Case of Mister HollowFilms of 2005 - 2009 Far Cry

alternative title(s): The Family That Preys
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