Throughout his ministry, Bishop T. D. Jakes has shown a remarkable ability to minister to hurting people, especially women. His bestselling book, Woman, Thou Art Loosed: Healing the Wounds of the Past (Treasure House, 1994), became a workbook, a conference theme, a worship CD, and a stage play. Now it's a movie.
With a screenplay by Stan Foster, the film has already won awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival. It has also earned an R rating for graphic depictions of sexual abuse.
As Woman opens, a hardened Michelle Jordan (Kimberly Elise) is walking up the aisle at a church revival in response to an altar call by Jakes (who plays himself). Just as we believe we are about to see a dramatic conversion experience, Michelle leans over, pulls a gun from her bag, and fires.
Having started with the climax, the film moves alternately backward and forward to trace dual narratives: the story of why Michelle did what she did, and the story of her potential transformation.
As Jakes visits her on death row, she explains how she became the hardened, cynical woman who awaits her death. "Little girls like me never grow up—they just die," she says dryly. Michelle explains that she grew up in a fatherless home, and that Reggie (Clifton Powell), her mother's live-in boyfriend, sexually abused her. Torn between her desire for her mother's love and her need to escape her painful home situation, Michelle turned to drugs and prostitution, eventually serving time for narcotics possession. The incident at the church takes place during her parole and lands her on death row.
At first, the central characters of the story—a sexually abused child who becomes a criminal; an emotionally needy, ...1