Woman, Thou Art Loosed

Partially recommended. Very thoughtful and poetic. This movie does for black Gospel culture what The Apostle did for Pentecostal culture, it breaks the negative stereotypes while showing both good and bad of that subculture. It’s supposedly based on a composite of true stories of abused women, while remaining a fictional story. Basic plot: little girl is abused by single mom’s boyfriend and turns to drugs, stripping and hooking and eventually lands in jail. She then grows up and tries to reform but ends up killing her molester out of vengeance. But it is not exploitative in any of these sins. It deals with them in a very realistic yet tasteful way. The fact that it is R rated is because it is dealing with such subject matter, not because it is exploiting it. The dialogue was rather poetic at times, and they did a cool occasional insert of various characters “interviewing” with the camera as if it were a documentary. I liked this about it. Gave great insight into motives, and was very true and real to the way people think who justify their lack of action, their hypocrisy, their self-deception. The single mother who justifies living in sin with a lowlife because she doesn’t think she can get better, the lowlife who justifies his laziness with an appeal to how hard it is and his own counterfeit conversion. I loved how this movie did not degenerate into Spike Lee type propaganda or multicultural victim accusations and claims of entitlement. It showed people as RESPONSIBLE for their choices in life, and did not blame it on “the man.” It showed how the Gospel culture is abused by many who use Jesus as a cover for falsehood, but it showed true Christians trying to be real with their Christianity too. Some who say “Praise Jesus” in black culture really mean it. Very balanced. Very odd, though, the movie ends on an almost hopeless ironic swapping of heroine and villain. Right at the point where the villain, the molester, seems to have true and genuine repentance at the altar of a revival, and is in the process of approaching the heroine to ask for forgiveness, to actually fess up to what he had denied and lied about for so long, the heroine, cannot take it and pulls out a gun and shoots him dead. So she ends up on death row. Interesting irony, that maybe is supposed to make us realize that those we think are heros can become villains, just as much as those who are villains can become heros, because in Christianity, we are all villainous at heart, and even the vilest sinner can truly repent. Then we see a most powerful moment when the molester, Reggie, has his interview with the audience and speaks about “just needing a little more time.” The perennial excuse or regret from those who wait too long to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the preacher who visits the heroine in jail, pushing for a reprieve (in an unbiblical moment), has a chance to challenge the heroine, but he doesn’t. She tells him to pray for her, and he says he will, “You gonna make it. I know you will.” Whereas, he should have said, “you need to do some yourself.” Favorite line of the movie, when the heroine, now in jail ready to die faces her own truth: “You can never really get even. What I did was wrong, no matter what he did to me.” You can never really get even. WHOA. What a repentant revelation. What a true repentance. You don’t see that too often in movies. An honest dealing with the worst of being wronged and yet an affirmation of responsibility. At the start, she is building a little model house without a door on it which symbolizes her own hopelessness and trapped feelings. But by the end, after the preacher talks to her, we see her little house has a door on it now. Hope for escape from her cycle of violence. WHAT I DID NOT LIKE ABOUT THE MOVIE: What really bothered me the most, and it’s one of the reasons why I don’t whole heartedly recommend the film is that it is a “glory piece” for an anti-Trinitarian heretic named T. D. Jakes. It’s one thing to have a marginalized theology, but a man who teaches outright heresy is the worst thing for the black community. (GO HERE to read an article about Jakes by CRI Journal: http://www.equip.org/free/DJ900.htm) He plays the preacher/wise man in the movie, and he plays himself, which is way too self-important in my opinion. Way too long scenes of the revival in the movie, too. Made it look way too much like a Black Billy Graham movie with its cliché stadium crusade in every movie.

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