An adaptation of Bishop T.D. Jakes' self-help novel, chronciling a woman's struggle to come to terms with her legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty.An adaptation of Bishop T.D. Jakes' self-help novel, chronciling a woman's struggle to come to terms with her legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty.An adaptation of Bishop T.D. Jakes' self-help novel, chronciling a woman's struggle to come to terms with her legacy of abuse, addiction and poverty.
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.
- Oct 9, 2004