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|Index||23 reviews in total|
I have never cried so much in my lifetime. The characters in this movie
were so close in name as well as in nature that I felt I needed to
write and tell the world. I am Michelle and I created my own prison for
myself by not forgiving, let alone knowing how to forgive. All I wanted
was for my mother to believe what happened to me and do something about
it instead of accusing me. Like Michelle, I also was not believed, but
told not to say anything to anyone. I was killing myself by eating
excessively, not trusting or forgiving anyone totally, and in time not
getting the help I needed. My drug which was similar to Michelle's was
sleeping around to try to make myself feel better and feel accepted.
And twenty+ years later, I still don't feel any better. I could not
stop crying. Something deep inside me said get up and write this down
so someone else could see that they are not the only ones going through
something difficult. I can honestly say that I have not survived my
past. I am still imprisoned. The house that Michelle built is the house
that I still reside in (no doors). Everyday I tell myself that I will
eventually forget and that it was not my fault. I must tell anyone who
is reading this, that the situation alone will take away so much from
you. I have lost the strong relationship that I could have with my own
daughter. I love my daughter, but find it hard to be close to her. The
molestation that I experienced has ruined me. I am a good person, but I
need direction. Before I experienced the molestation, I always thought
that a girl/woman was strong enough to get through anything. I hate to
admit it, but I was wrong. That day ended my life and my innocence. I
feel like I am a functioning zombie. What makes me strong is that I can
talk about it now. It took someone very close to me to make me write it
down. He said if you cant confront the person (my guilt) then write it
down and it will make you feel like you have told the person.
Afterwards, he said mail it or throw it away. For all that good advice
that I was given that day, I wrote the letter and I still look at it. I
sent it to my mother expressing my feelings, but like Michelle's mother
- no "I'm sorry" or "I should have believed you". My dilemma is that I
cant seem to get that door opened. I am tired of holding onto this
pain. I need help. I will get the help that I need, but for today I
feel good just being able to say that I still have the opportunity to
get the help I need. One day, I will be able to forgive my mother and
the rapist, but not today.
Character Michelle Janelle Cassie(mother) Catherine
This movie (as well as the book and play) addressed sensitive issues
that touch the lives of men, women and children everyday. However,
theses issues are usually not openly discussed and are often hidden,
which leads to mental and emotional break-downs or destructive
The movie not only captured several issues, including sexual abuse, verbal abuse, abandonment, low self-esteem etc. It also demonstrated the negative effects of covering up the issues through lies, misplaced aggression and denial. I liked the way the movie displayed the effect that the revival incident had on each character that was involved. I was also touched by the positive and encouraging words offered by the minister which ultimately had an effect on the main character.
The plot of the film has our heroine shooting a man during a religious
crusade. She hasn't been long out of prison and is thrown back on death
row. While awaiting her date with destiny a minister arrives and she
recounts her life. It is a life of pain and suffering that never quite
goes right despite her best intentions.
Have you ever watched a film that you thought was extremely well done but which you couldn't not relate to at all? For me this is one of the few films I found that is beyond my scope of experience. The life and pain of this black woman simply did not connect with this white man. Don't get me wrong, I liked the film, I just couldn't connect emotionally with events on the screen.
That said this is very good movie. The acting is excellent. The story is compelling, even if I couldn't emotionally connect with it. This is a film to try if you run across it. You may not love it but you'll probably like it.
7 out of 10
If you loved DEAD MAN WALKING as much as I did, then you'll also appreciate this prison-set film based on a book and a play by AME Bishop Jakes. Like Matthew Poncelet in Sr. Prejean's story, this one features a character who is a composite of several real life abused women whom the good bishop ministered to through the years. Michelle is on death row when Bishop Jakes visits her. At first she almost ignores him as she works on a model house made up of match sticks or small pieces of wood. She had not expected him to come, he being so big time--his face was on the cover of TIME Magazine--but it soon appears that their paths have crossed before and that her mother is one of the clerks who works in his evangelism campaign. Before going any further I should reassure any readers made nervous by the fact that a real-life bishop is a main character, that this is not one of those syrupy Billy Graham films. It is an unabashedly religious, no, a Christian film, but it is gritty in its realistic detailing of drug addiction, child abuse, prostitution and such, well deserving of its R rating. It is a compelling story of a woman's descent into hell and of her slow journey back. The cast is excellent, with Bishop Jakes playing himself--not just in the pulpit, but in some intense scenes in Michelle's prison cell that demand more than pulpit oratory. In another life he could have made it as an actor. The crew members are all Hollywood pros, so the production values are excellent. A neat symbol is the house on which Michelle labors so long over--it is the last thing we see before the fade to black and the credits roll, so it serves as a good symbol (far better than the full scale house in LIFE AS A HOUSE). There are plenty of interesting male, as well as female characters, so you shouldn't look at this as a "woman's film," nor as an African American one. Exploring the terrible damage those close to us can do to one another, and of the almost impossibility of forgiveness, it's a film that I will be thinking about for some time to come.
Overall I thought the movie was good. The first time I saw it I came late to the theater and missed the give away beginning.. So at the end I was like "wow" what a shock, this was great then to my dismay when I saw it again I watched from the beginning and realized it was only a shock to me. The lead actress did a wonderful job and I would like to see her recognized for it. To the person who wrote about being happy they didn't buy the book, your missing out T.D. Jakes has great insight and the book/books are about more then what this movie touched on. I went to a T.D. Jakes seminar at the forum and by the end of the night there wasn't one dry eye in the place.
I really enjoyed the movie and got a chance to see Bishop TD Jakes from
a different perspective. I believe this is the side of ministers that
we don't see, where they visit the sick, prisoners, etc. And unless we
have a crisis in our family probably will never see. Since I missed the
first few moments I was a little confused by what was going on since
the scenes jumped from the jail cell to the church to the past.
However, the plot is not hard to follow. The characters were all great
and did an excellent job in there parts.
I sure many feel its a movie for women and that is not necessarily so. After watching the movie I am definitely interested in reading the book.
This movie has such a powerful message! Kimberly Elise does a superb job as abuse victim Michelle Jordan whose life went spiraling down a black hole after her "innocence was stolen" by her mother's lowdown-dirty-snake-of-a-boyfriend and her mother turning her back on the situation. I watched this movie with my 13yr old daughter and it made me want to hold her even closer to me than I already do because I can't imagine her going through something like that. Loretta Divine also does an excellent job as her selfish-in-denial-but-ever-"man-hungry" mother. Debbie Morgan is superb as the humorous, comforting, and advising family friend and Clifton Powell couldn't be anymore convincing as the snake-in-the grass boyfriend. T.D. Jakes put together a stellar cast to bring such a moving and powerful story to the big screen. There are so many lessons taught in this movie as well as learned. The character of Michelle is trying to deal with trust issues from her standpoint as well as others. In the scene where she has been ushered to a seat at church and the lady usher sees that she is wearing an electronic monitoring device on her ankle and then she asks her did she take a Bible and Michelle gets very upset and gives an upsetting reply. Then Michelle sees that others are taking and using the Bibles to study during the service and she realizes what the lady meant. Although it doesn't end all "warm and fuzzy", it is a must-see for anyone who is battling with or seeking forgiveness.
When my girlfriend dragged me to this movie, I went with her to treat
her to part of her Birthday present; but secretly, I was dreading to
see this movie. I thought that here's another "Christian" made
production, many of which seem to suffer from lack luster acting and
None of those elements exist in this riveting drama based on the composite experiences of various women encountered by TD Jakes through out his ministry. From the stunning beginning of the movie to its hopeful and heart warming end, I was enthralled by the very realistic characters(especially the main character), their various struggles, and their varying Faith, or lack there of, in God.
This movie does not milk-toast the church or sugar coat those who are True Believers, but shows us for what we truly are; real sinners saved continually by real Amazing GRACE and the Great Mercy of God.
For those who think you have to be lilly white to be accepted by God, I highly recommend this movie as a big dose of reality. But for those who just see the church as full of hypocrites, you'll come away with an appreciation for how much God loves us imperfect beings and why the Church is full of us!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*****MAY contain SLIGHT spoilers***** First, I want to to say the
actual story was great. I could identify with Kimberly Elise's
character so much when it came to learning how to let the past go. I
understand that even as she moved from level to level, she unknowingly
dragged all the baggage with her. I think the story was absolutely
engaging. I felt as if she was letting me take a place in her mind and
walk a mile in her shoes. This is one of the rare movies that has the
viewer totally engrossed in the character, watching the character and
at the same time, feeling the emotions of the character. This movie
also opens your own psyche and unbeknownst to the viewer, your harbored
pain and anger begins to come out. You begin to think about the past
and the events that scarred you and shaped the road of your life.
There were some electrifying performances in this film. Kimberly Elise should definitely have been an Oscar contender for this role. Loretta Devine , as usual, turned in a wonderful performance and was totally absorbed by her character allowing her to come across as someone we could all possibly know. Clifton Powell's turn as a complete scumbag and scoundrel who later finds God was amazing. He totally captured the duplicity that lurks within every person. His soul and actions were definitely a battleground for evil. Debbi Morgan's turn as the aunt has shown how far she has come since her days as Angie on All My Children.
Now, there are some problems with the movie. First, TD Jakes definitely plugs himself and his work throughout the movie. He should also stick to preaching and give up acting. The cutting from the actual story to his sermons can get annoying. Just as you become engrossed in the movie, the scene cuts to Jakes preaching on the pulpit. Also, it seems that every TV station in this city carries only TD Jakes because everybody watches him. This has to be one of the most shameless attempts to plug I have ever seen. He also comes across as believing his own press. Listen for the "....THE man of God himself" introduction at the revival. Somewhat conceited? Overall, I would tell any woman, or man for that matter, to take a look at this movie.
Renowned minister and author Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House of
Dallas, Texas has brought to screen his best-selling novel that has
been a major hit amongst women in his ministry for nearly 10 years.
Written at a time in his life when he doubted if he could (read:
should) be the 'voice' of the forgotten women, the broken woman, the
fallen woman, ...the woman that is often invisible in most church
congregations, after the release of his novel, the overwhelming answer
was 'preach on, T.D., preach on'. And preach he did, to thousands in
his Woman Thou Art Loosed conventions all across the country to sold
out stadiums. It's not really a surprise when one knows the history of
the journey that this project would be his first feature film effort.
Some might argue that this is his most anointed work, especially given
the numbers that most lower income minority households now are single
parent households and that translates more than likely to often being
led by mothers. What happens when these 'mothers' fall into hopeless
situations that seem outside the confines of the normal assistance that
most churches are only equip to handle? It's in that chasm that Bishop
Jakes found his voice.., and calling.
Woman Thou Art Loosed, the movie, is an ambitious project. Well written, and acted by a stellar cast (more on that later), it only suffers from a few minor problems that are mostly cinematic issues. The lighting throughout the movie was uneven and could have benefited from an overall continuity of theme, but all in all, this problem is minor in contrast to the action and dialogue on the screen. The outstanding casting of Kimberly Elise as the troubled lead, Michelle Jordan, who opens this movie, pistol in hand, in the midst of an altar call at a revival meeting of Bishop Jakes, is both tragic and heroic as you learn of her desperation to make sense of her life's choices and conflicts. Kimberly brings a new definition to pathos, and in several scenes proves that she's an actress of great skill and technique, while never allowing the mechanics to be noticed. Adept at emoting with just a look or turn of her brow, she breathes life into Michele's often difficult and challenging scenes with the ease of someone who's really been 'there' in the depths of despair. At it's core, WTAL is a love story. Love gone bad, love gone wrong, love unrequited and love never fully developed. Michelle wants her mother, Cassie, to love her, to see her and acknowledge her. Formidable actress Loretta Devine, portrays a mother that needed mothering, and unfortunately can't give to her daughter what she's never experienced. Failing her daughter at a most critical moment in their journey, creates the rift between mother and daughter and sets into motion that incredible opening scene. Pay close attention to the scenes that include these two actresses, together, for a master's class in scene study.
But make no mistake, the heartbeat of this film is Bishop Jakes and his sermons. Whether being delivered in the pulpit or in a prison cell, his message of restoration is ever present. The moments that soar in this film are those that center on his fiery, common-sense sermons and his ability to touch the very core of issues in simple and succinct analogies. Much more could have been made of these moments and I think the direction in the services suffered a bit, but then again, how do you really direct the holy spirit? Director Michael Schultz is legendary and yet this might be the problem: his style is a little dated and isn't as edgy as some of the more modern films of our times. That being said, I did appreciate his use of the close-up that allowed us to 'see' every nuance of emotion.
It might prove a little difficult to find this film, but it's worth a diligent search. If for no other reason, for the sheer inspiration of the story and to observe major talent acting for once in material that they obviously believe in. I sensed that many of those tears that were shed, weren't all about the characters they were inhabiting. More than a few actors were most likely 'loosed' in the process, as well. It's that powerful of a movie. Highly recommended.
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