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What The Paintings Really Mean In Mea Culpa


Summary

  • Zyair created paintings of all intimate partners, using seduction techniques.
  • Charlise’s affair with Zyair was revealed through a layered painting in the film.
  • Zyair vandalized a painting that accidentally incriminated him, but evidence proved his innocence.



Tyler Perry’s Mea Culpa leads the audience to believe that Zyair Malloy (Tevante Rhodes) might be guilty of murder and does this through a series of paintings. Tyler Perry left comedy aside for Mea Culpa, a legal thriller written and directed by him and released on Netflix. Mea Culpa quickly made it into Netflix’s Top 10 and held the #1 spot for a couple of days. Although it hasn’t been well-received by critics, general audiences have been more welcoming of Mea Culpa, and have been trying to find answers to some of the questions left by the movie.

Mea Culpa follows Mea Harper (Kelly Rowland), a lawyer who is going through a marital crisis with her husband, Kal Hawthrone (Sean Sagar), which is made worse by his controlling mother, Azalia (Kerry O’Malley), and older brother Ray (Nick Sagar). One day, Mea is approached by artist Zyair Malloy to represent him as he’s being accused of killing his girlfriend. Despite Ray and Azalia’s attempts to manipulate Mea into not taking the case, she does, but she soon falls into a web of deceit and psychological tricks. Mea Culpa uses Zyair’s paintings to trick Mea and the audience, and they have an important meaning in the story.


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Zyair Painted Every Woman He Had An Intimate Connection With

Zyair kept a record of his partners through paintings.

When Zyair was introduced in Mea Culpa, he was being accused of killing his girlfriend, Hydie, and was being prosecuted by Ray, who was the District Attorney. Ray was also looking to expand his career, and having his sister-in-law defend a “murderer” wasn’t going to look good for him. Still, Mea agreed to represent Zyair, who turned out to be a bigger mystery than she expected. Zyair insisted on his innocence and that he had no idea what had happened to Hydie, but his dynamic with Mea became complicated once they started to develop feelings for each other.


One night, after receiving supposed evidence of Kal’s infidelity, Mea gave in to her feelings for Zyair and they had sex in his apartment. When Mea woke up, Zyair had placed a painting he made of her on the canopy over the bed, so she would look at it when she woke up. As part of her courtroom preparations, Mea met Renee Wilson (Angela Robinson), an art gallery owner who refused to take down Zyair’s paintings. Mea learned that Renee had an intimate relationship with Zyair, and she woke up one day to a portrait of herself on the canopy over the bed.

Renee told Mea that the canvas had several layers of deceit, which gave Mea an important clue. When Mea arrived at Zyair’s apartment, she tore her painting from the canvas to reveal the portrait of another woman beneath it, and she continued tearing each portrait until she got to Hydie’s. Zyair made a portrait of every woman he had an intimate connection with, whether emotional or purely physical, and used the same “seduction” technique with every one of them.


Charlise’s Twist Was Hinted At The Beginning Of Mea Culpa

One line by Ray hinted at Charlise’s connection to Zyair.

Mea and Charlise crying outside in Mea Culpa.

Hydie, Renee, and Mea weren’t the only confirmed women who had some sort of relationship with Zyair. One of the twists in Mea Culpa was about Charlise (Shannon Thornton), Ray’s wife and Mea’s sister-in-law and friend. In the third act of Mea Culpa, while at Ray and Charlise’s home, Mea found a painting in a room with a red light that had one layer peeled off. The painting was made by Zyair, and the layer beneath the first one was a portrait of Charlise, thus revealing that, just like Mea, Charlise had an affair with Zyair at some point.


This twist in Charlise’s story was hinted at the beginning of Mea Culpa. After a family dinner for Azalia’s birthday, Mea mentioned that Zyair was at the same restaurant, with Ray quickly mentioning that Charlise insisted on buying two paintings by him and she refused to get rid of them after Zyair was accused of murder, but he felt they had to as he was prosecuting the case. The twist ending of Mea Culpa revealed that Ray knew about Charlise’s affair with Zyair, and he was the one responsible for the accusations against Zyair.

Why Zyair Vandalized His Painting Of Hydie

The vandalized painting of Hydie could have been used against Zyair.

Mea Culpa Hydie's vandalized portrait


When Mea got to Hydie’s portrait, it had been vandalized by Zyair himself. Zyair painted “die you b**ch, you ruined my life” over it. Mea knew that was enough to incriminate Zyiar, which along with other pieces of evidence, painted a terrible future for him. Although Zyair did paint those words over Hydie’s portrait, it wasn’t because he had killed her. As part of Ray’s plan to destroy Zyair for his affair with Charlise, he had Hydie make a video where she said she was in danger because of Zyair, when in reality, she was in the Dominican Republic, working at a hotel.

Mea, with the help of her friend and trusted Private Investigator, Jimmy (Ron Reaco Lee), was able to prove Zyair’s innocence and Ray and Azalia’s scams, setting Zyair free and clearing his name. Zyair’s paintings were important to the story of Mea Culpa, and had Mea not learned the truth, they could also have led to Zyair’s end.

Mea Culpa 2024 Movie Poster

Mea Culpa (2024)

Mea Culpa is a 2024 dramatic crime thriller written and directed by Tyler Perry. A criminal defense attorney takes up a domestic murder case when an artist is believed to have murdered his girlfriend – all hoping for the level of the case to propel them to the position of partner at their firm.

Director
Tyler Perry

Release Date
February 23, 2024

Cast
Kelly Rowland , Trevante Rhodes , Nick Sagar , Sean Sagar , RonReaco Lee , Shannon Thornton , Kerry O’Malley , Arianna Barron




This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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