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Tyler Perry Spotlights Kelly Rowland in Erotic Thriller

With a clever title like Mea Culpa, you might be able to guess that the film is centered around the legal system… and might even feature a character by the name of “Mea.” Both are true. Years after her reign with Destiny’s Child alongside Beyoncé and Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland went on to sing the vocals in David Guetta’s hit EDM song “When Love Takes Over.” In acclaimed writer-director Tyler Perry’s new erotic thriller Mea Culpa, it’s “lust” that takes over instead, as her attorney persona Mea falls victim to the seduction of a mysterious artist in distress (Trevante Rhodes) after being accused of murder. Actually, he doesn’t seem all that fazed by it all, as he takes a liking to his prospective counsel, making Mea Culpa all the more fun.

Hot and Dangerous

Mea Culpa


Release Date
February 23, 2024

Kelly Rowland , Trevante Rhodes , Kerry O’Malley , Sean Sagar , RonReaco Lee


For those not familiar, the term mea culpa is Latin for “through my fault” and is sometimes used to express remorse. “Culpa” by itself means “guilt” in Latin, and it won’t take long before you realize why Perry’s title is so fitting. The renowned filmmaker and actor played a lawyer in Gone Girl, though Perry is nowhere to be found in his new Netflix offering, sadly enough. It’s miles away from the tone of his hilarious Medea movies, and that’s A-OK.

Sadly, there are no “courtroom drama” moments here, but rather what goes on outside the justice halls. That means seeing Mea’s eye-roll of a home life, with a strained marriage to husband Kal (Sean Sagar), who’s just a little too chummy with his overbearing mom Azalia (Kerry O’Malley). Kal’s brother Ray (Nick Sagar) is also constantly lingering around, and you can just feel the annoyance that Rowland perfectly evokes through protagonist Mea. There are undoubtedly a number of young newlyweds out there who can, unfortunately, relate to Mea’s trials and tribulations with Kal’s bothersome relatives.

It also doesn’t help that Kal has been out of a job for months, with Mea secretly footing all their bills without Azalia ever finding out. Mea is clearly good at her job as a criminal defense attorney, but their crippling debt leads her to take on the questionable case of Zyair Malloy. Moviegoers will recognize Trevante Rhodes from hit films like the Academy Award-winning masterpiece Moonlight and, more recently, another Netflix film: Bird Box. Here, Rhodes effectively broadens his reach as a performer, with a wide-ranging performance that is often mysterious, sexy, comedic, and dramatic. We can’t wait to see what’s next for him — and for Rowland, on that note.


Tyler Perry Says He Made Mea Culpa to ‘Give Kelly Rowland a Moment to Shine’

Mea Culpa brings together Kelly Rowland’s acting prowess and Tyler Perry’s vision in a riveting legal drama.

Is Everyone Guilty?

Rowland was a standout performer in less impactful features like Freddy vs. Jason and Think Like a Man, so hats off to Perry for spotlighting her here. Sure, expressions like “guilty pleasure” might come to mind in describing the soapy nature of Mea Culpa, but it’s fun to see other throwback actors return to action here. Exhibit A is RonReaco Lee as Jimmy, Mea’s pal and private investigator. He’s a charming, attractive dude, but with Mea it’s all platonic. All that sexual tension and chemistry is reserved for Zyair. But RonReaco Lee will be instantly recognizable for millennials everywhere who grew up watching the beloved ’90s sitcomSister Sister. Welcome back, sir! Watch as Jimmy keeps a close eye on Zyair and even Mea’s sketchy in-laws, who may be up to something in regard to the criminal case at hand…

At the end of the day, we’re all guilty of something, a notion that Perry explores here to thrilling effect. Mea Culpa is pulpy, soapy stuff that isn’t the most hard-hitting of content out there, but the unique Chicago setting offers a refreshing change of scenery and sets up a universe where Mea could take on future criminal cases in follow-up films or even a spinoff series. In MovieWeb’s recent interview with Tyler Perry, he revealed that he has eight more films to develop with Netflix. We’d love to see another legal thriller, particularly with Mea involved.


Kelly Rowland Dishes on Tyler Perry’s New Film: ‘I Saw It Was an Erotic Thriller’ and ‘Said No’

Kelly Rowland reveals in an exclusive interview with MovieWeb that she nearly passed on Tyler Perry’s upcoming film, Mea Culpa.

With this initial film, we’re gifted with a handful of little twists and turns along the way, as Mea uncovers more about Zyair and his now-dead girlfriend, what kinds of rough play they enjoyed before she was murdered, and what exactly is going on with Mea’s shady family and Azalia’s alleged health problems. It’s the sort of popcorn flick that is best consumed with your pals, so you can all discuss and argue about what exactly happened as the credits roll.

Mea Culpa is now streaming on Netflix.


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