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YMMV / Madea's Big Happy Family

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Shirley. Is she a well-meaning and kindly woman who ultimately wants the best for her family, or a hypocrite and a pushover who ignores the unresolved issues they have, allows them to get away with too much and wallow in their own messes?
  • Jerkass Woobie: Kimberly. She comes off as a snob who is unnecessarily rude, but then you discover she's justified in resenting her mother for not seeking legal action against her rapist uncle. You also can't blame her for not enjoying her family's company when some of her family members would pretend to be a happy family when they are actually anything but with serious problems of their.
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  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Kimberly. She is indeed an angry and pretentious snob who cares more about her real estate employment than her family (particularly her dying mother and her loving husband), but she has good reason to care little for her family as she came from a very messed up past which she had never resolved. Later in the film, we learn that she was raped by her uncle at thirteen, which resulted in her getting pregnant with her "brother" Byron, who the family had passed off as her mother's son, which was withheld from him throughout his life, her sister Tammy — who's no saint herself, being a bully to her own husband while simultaneously being a pushover with their disrespectful sons — threw this back in her face during a fight just to win the argument, when she (rightfully) called out the family for consistently "playing nice" with each other instead of facing their many problems and nothing ever happened to the uncle (and that her mother/other relatives did nothing to pursue any kind of punishment for him and instead just prayed about it.)
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  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Byron. Although he goes through lots of hardship in the film (a past jail sentence for drugs, said sentence preventing him from getting a legitimate job, being caught between a pair of terrible women and finding out two heartbreaking secrets; that both his mother is dying and that his real mother was his older sister, who had conceived him through rape), this still does nothing to quell his lack of any drive to do better for himself, to properly provide for his young son or the admission that he likes being in the middle of a love triangle with both women, in spite of the fact one is a Gold Digger and the other is the baby's mother from Hell.
  • The Woobie: Shirley. She's such a nice woman, who loves her family and just wants to keep peace, but, unfortunately, her cancer has returned and she hadn't much long to live, so she just wanted to see her relatives one last time and what would have been her last dinner with her children, an argument erupts with Byron learning the truth that Kimberly is really his mother. The last time she does get to see her family together, it's when she's on her deathbed and, to add insult to injury, Kimberly isn't there.


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