Not Easily Broken, a film based on the novel by best-selling author Bishop T. D, Jakes, and directed by Bill Duke (Sister Act 2) is a good watch – even though it is driven by message over art (one of my biggest issues with Christian movies.)
Morris Chestnut plays a self-employed home improvement worker and his wife, played by the newly Oscar-nominated Taraji P. Henson (Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), is a high-earning real estate broker. Ten years or so after they marry they have a beautiful home near Los Angeles and no children. They are drifting apart.He spends more time with his friends volunteering for Little League than at home. She only wants to work, reminding him that she is paying the mortgage. He wants children.
When they are in a car accident and Clarice (Henson) is seriously injured, her mother moves in. Talk about a shrew – and her daughter is just as bad. Then Dave (Chestnut) falls for Julie, Clarice’s physical therapist who is a single mom. He encourages her son Bryson to play baseball with the league.
Things are falling apart, and the three-threaded cord that the bishop laid around Clarice and Dave’s shoulders on their marriage day, is breaking (a symbol for husband, wife and God in the marriage.)
This is a movie with a message about Christian marriage and the cast is primarily African-American blended with white characters that creates a comfortable feeling of sommunity. It is also a film that explores the sources and changing male identity and role in the family today, especially the Christian family.
All in all, I think it is a film about men, especially black men and their women. I was uncomfortable with the way the black women were portrayed – really shrill. And while they blame men for everything bad in their lives, the film seems to blame the women for what is wrong with the men. What is clear is that there is a cycle and while that can be broken, indeed needs to be broken, the marriage/family bond cannot unless people choose to do so.
I could have done without the “miracle” shot at the end (the clouds); it was a bit overdone; too literal.
Not Easily Broken does offer lots to talk about: family, relationships, racial stereotypes, fidelity in marriage, choosing to grow, parenting, maturity – themes that are valid all the time. It is preachy and direct, but entertaining, too; some parts and lines were pretty funny. It is not exactly Tyler Perry but that’s ok.
(Sorry these images are so small; its all I could find online.)
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