You know girlfriend is in trouble when she walks into church without a bra. In the schmaltzy Woman Thou Art Loosed, adapted from evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes’s bestselling novel and stage play of the same name, Michelle (Kimberly Elise) is released from prison and decides not to return to the life of drugs and prostitution that landed her in prison in the first place. In the opening scene, Michelle—whose anger is as blown-out as the film’s sound design—barges into the real-life Jakes’s congregation and seemingly fires a few rounds into the man. Later, when Jakes visits Michelle in prison and the Bishop suggests the Governor might commute her death sentence, you realize she must have missed her target. Or did she? Straight out of the pen, Michelle tries to stay clean and keep her relationship with a childhood crush going despite the nagging presence of her horrible past. When she isn’t dodging pimps and drug dealers, she’s confronting her mother about the molestation she suffered years ago at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. Earnest but corny, Woman Thou Art Loosed shuffles the abuses of Michelle’s life with shamelessly self-promotional scenes from Jakes’s evangelical speeches, but because God scarcely registers in the film as a force to submit to or be reckoned with, the effect is truly that of a sappy Lifetime movie intermittingly picking up reception from a PAX satellite. A closing credit states that Michelle is not a real person, but a “composite” character that represents the struggle of many women—no surprise considering Stan Foster’s tin ear for dialogue (“That’s not my home, that’s just where a piece of me is buried,” says Michelle as she points to the childhood home she can’t return to) and veteran TV director Michael Schultz’s After School evocations of blunt traumas. Those who aren’t building metaphors busy themselves by speaking in aphorisms, and as such the fanatical Woman Thou Art Loosed couldn’t be any less grounded in real world.
- Magnolia Pictures
- 94 min
- Michael Schultz
- Stan Foster
- Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Debbi Morgan, Michael Boatman, Clifton Powell, Idalis DeLeon, Sean Blakemore, Ricky Harris
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