Why Tyler Perry's 'Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor Is A True Story on Narcissism.
We see the movie open up with Judith telling a story to a troubled couple, who's relationship she is trying to save. As the wife begins to grow unhappy within her marriage. Judith picks up on the cues that she has met someone and now is faced with mixed emotions as to stay in her marriage or to carry on her "almost-affair."
As Judith's story begins, there is a dissolve to her or...her sister's early life. But we'll get back to that later. Judith played by (Jurnie Smollett, best known for her roles in Eve's Bayou, Lovecraft Country, Lou, and many others.) is an aspiring marriage counselor. She has an adoring yet often forgetful husband Bryce played by actor Lance Gross, who works as a pharmacist. On the surface it appears that they have a pretty decent life. Yet, while Judith works with a millionaire match maker agency which is owned by the amazing, Vanessa Williams who plays Janice Wise. Who for some reason often dotes a French accent. Judith isn't satisfied, "helping old people find a date," as she reluctantly says to her husband before she plumps on the bed. She desires to start her own practice to work for herself. But Bryce tells her to hold off on that for about 5-10 years!!! WHAT?!?
In an attempt to brighten up her mood, he takes her out to dinner. While on the way back home, we see some thugs call Judith a, "fine ass bitch," In which enrages Judith but Bryce repeatedly tells her to 'let it go.' This doesn't sit well with her and she passive aggressively tells him that she didn't feel protected. To much of his regard he says, they could've had a gun...Okay buddy but honestly he could've still did SOMETHING!!
The next day at work Judith is met by Kim K's character who bullies her about her attire on a daily basis. Which irritates Judith who typically brushes it off. Janice introduces a handsome looking tech consultant named Harley who wants to launch a new program to help people find compatible partners. This is when the story takes an interesting turn! Harley is suppose to be the black Mark Zuckerberg with instead of Facebook it's, "Class Meet."
Harley is the type of guy that you wish you never met. But once Judith starts working with him she naively begins to fall for him. Given the fact that the only man she's dated her entire life has been Bryce. They met at the age of 6 -years old. Judith hasn't spun the block enough to know when a man is spewing some whack game at her. Harley and Judith begin going over the components of the app while he divulges how a woman (Karen -played by singer, & actress Brandy) walked out of his life which broke his heart. Judith green to his game feels sorry for him.
Harley asks Judith why isn't sex apart of the compatibility. She answers that how she's a Christian and doesn't believe in sex before marriage. Harley replies, how can you know how compatible you are if you have nothing to compare it to? He tells her in a seducing way that sex should be random and spontaneous. Which intrigues her, especially after she realizes that Bryce has forgotten her birthday for the second year in a row! So what does she do when she starts to feel neglected and taken for granted? She begins an emotional affair.
The Narcissist & His Victim
If you know anything about narcissism; you know the 3 stage cycle. But if you aren't aware let me explain. Love bomb: This is when they are on their best behavior. The narc will appear to be your true love as they're mirroring you to be exactly everything you want in a partner.
Hence, Harley woes Judith and becomes something different to her. As they enjoy jogging together in the early mornings. He listens to her talk about her hopes, dreams and aspirations encouraging her to start her own business. Something Bryce wasn't doing for her. For the first time she feels seen. Harley even brings her a gift for her birthday. Frustrated that it isn't from Bryce. He's showing her attention that she felt she wasn't getting at home.
Now doing this stage the masks begins to slip off but it's so subtle you don't even begin to notice it until the end. The nick picking, the jabs and insults began and you don't know where things went wrong.
During this time, Judith and Harley go on a trip on Harley's private jet to New Orleans to close a deal on a project for Janice's business. Harley doesn't back down and shows Judith a great time with food, jazz, and dancing. But this is when things go south. He tells Judith that he wants to be with her. But she sternly tells him that she's married. But does he take no for an answer, HELL NOPE!
Harley comes on to Judith, she adamantly tells him, NO! But Harley forces himself on to her. Come on people isn't this considered rape! What could she have done being a thousand miles in the air, there's no else around. We think she is done with Harley as she tells him she doesn't want anything to do with him when he finally drops her off back home. You think okay, she's going to report this to the authorities. But....that trip on the plane was so good it is the start of her extra-martial affair. One night Bryce is on the couch watching football so Judith feels neglected and calls Harley.
She goes to his house and has sex with him. Afterwards, Judith cooks them dinner and Harley is manipulating her. Asking her when she is going to leave Bryce. Judith knows what she's doing isn't right and tells him, that she can't leave him because she still loves him. An angry Harley kicks Judith out of his house. Stunned in belief, she is upset and walks out of his house to return home. Judith's mother, Sarah, played by Ella Joyce, best known for her role in the sitcom, "Rock." who is in town visiting is giving her some motherly advice about Harley.
"That fool out there is going to make an even bigger fool out of you. That boy is going to hurt you something bad. He's going to take you straight to hell."
In return, Judith replies, "Well, I'll enjoy the ride!" which is greeted with a hard slap to the face. Sarah starts quoting bible scriptures. Which alarms Bryce, as he questions what is going on between Sarah and Judith. Sarah leaves the apartment. Judith begins to ramp up her affair with Harley. Unbeknownst to Bryce. But he is starting to sense the subtle changes to Judith's behavior. As Judith and Harley aren't even trying to hide the cheating. They begin doing coke, picking out offices together. He even promises that he will go into business with her. Simply running game and making "false promises," which in narcissism is called, "future faking." A promise of something that they say will transpire but of course never will. Which is nothing short of manipulation.
Eventually, Harley makes Judith choose between him or Bryce, because he's not going to keep being the other man! Even though as the film goes on, we see that Harley is not a good person. He is nothing short of an asshole. He shoves Judith's mother to the ground when Sarah attempts to take Judith's laptop from Harley. He parks his car in the middle of traffic and tell the other drivers to "go around." Judith dickmatized and strung off coke believes she's found her "phenomenal" guy in Harley. Stating to Bryce who shows up at Harley's apartment in the middle of a party that resembles, Sodom & Gomorrah.
During this time they have grown bored and the narc treats you poorly. Which leaves you wondering what is going on here. Sometimes, you don't understand why you've been discarded. Thrown away like you never meant anything.
We see Harley, begin to physically abuse Judith, smacking her around after she speaks up about how he pushed her mother down. In how he grew up with a crack mother. This doesn't' sit too well with Harley.
Conclusion: So, if you've never seen this film I'm going to spoil the ending for you.
After Judith basically tells Bryce that she doesn't want him anymore, she goes back into the house where Harley is. Bryce heartbroken and distraught finds comfort in Melinda, (played by Brandy, who changed her name from Karen to Melinda to run from Harley.) This is when Bryce finds out that not only does Melinda have HIV but she caught it from Harley. Bryce is shocked because he knows that's who his wife has been seeing. In an attempt to save Judith he races back to Harley's place to find a battered and bruised Judith lying in a bathtub. She wants nothing but to get back with Bryce because she FINALLY REALIZES what a fool she's made of herself by cheating on her husband.
Why I say, this is the 3 stage cycle with a narc. Harley love bombs Judith showing her things she's never experienced before. He tells her what she wants to hear, and of course gives her good sex! We later begin to see Harley's true colors come out when Judith trips and falls over a cyclist which tips off Harley and almost fights the guy on the bike. He threatens Judith to leave her husband or face the repercussions. Naïve to the game he clearly threw at her she gets wrapped in his world. Leaves her husband and comfortable yet simple life for drugs, and debauchery. Once Harley is done using her up, he beats her and leaves her for dead. In which we see, Harley never cared nor loved her.
Before the films fades to black, we discover that their never was a sister but Judith was telling her very own story to the married couple at the beginning of the film. While we see a humbled Judith walk into the pharmacy of where Bryce works to get her meds since now she has HIV. Bryce has since moved on to a new wife and even has a little boy. Judith is on her way to church with her mom.
This is exactly how narcs abuse their victims, love bomb, devalue and discard.
Watch the trailer below!