Woman Thou Art Loosed on the Seventh Day
My wife and I went to see Rev T.D. Jakes' newest motion picture Woman Thou Art Loosed On The Seventh Day. The film is only being shown and exhibited in AMC theaters but it is well worth going out of your way to find a theater to see the film. I was reluctant to see it. I thought it was going to be a low budget, poorly produced propaganda piece for T.D. Jakes and Christianity. Jakes is a prominent minister and he has produced several films in the past. Jakes even has a cameo role in this film as a preacher and pastoral counselor. I must admit the film is well written and extremely well acted. The dialogue and acting do not beat you over your head with doctrine and dogma. Rather the film addresses a myriad of issues facing Africans in America such as forgiveness, the cultural pathology of the dominant culture, dysfunctional male female relationships, marital, infidelity, trust, class issues, personal choice and redemption.
To his credit Jakes assembled a stellar writing, directing and production team who made the characters real rather than card board caricatures and stereotypes. The film takes place in New Orleans and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina is still evident. The pale of devastation still hangs over the city despite the well off lifestyles of the main characters. The city is experiencing a serial kidnapping and killing spree reminiscent of the child killings in Atlanta decades ago. Most of the victims are not affluent or from well off neighborhoods. In this milieu Blaire Underwood and Sharon Neal's characters are living large with a seemingly great relationship together with their six year old daughter. But this is a veneer for the secrets in their past and present which come unraveled following their daughter's kidnapping. The kidnapping drastically alters their lives, as one by one their secrets are revealed first Neal's then as the film progresses, Underwood's past undoes him. During the crisis their marriage is put to the ultimate test, their friends desert them, they feel powerless with nowhere to turn as their world gets turned upside down and torn apart. Underwood's character turns on his wife once her secrets are exposed. He becomes judgmental and aloof. Neal's character flirts with drinking as the demons from her past come back to haunt her.
Pam Grier plays a tough, no nonsense New Orleans police detective who in the course of doing the routine background work of her job exposes Neal's past. The film contains numerous twists and turns, back stories and character proclivities that keep the viewer engaged and emotionally invested as the story unfolds. Underwood's character uses his influence to have additional resources brought in the help look for his daughter. The help comes in the form of an FBI agent who unbeknownst to Underwood knows his wife and has past history with her. The FBI agent's character has more empathy for Neal's character than does her husband because he knows her past and what she has been through which adds to the tension and plot line. The suspense mounts as the days pass and the daughter is not found. The MO of the psychopathic serial killer is the child is killed within six days. As the days dwindle, the twists and turns keep the viewer guessing trying to follow as the plot gets complicated.
The writers don't descend into feel good churchianity or get preachy. They let the story, visuals and actors make their point as the characters desperately struggle to stay afloat and not allow the tidal waves of their past crashing in on them to take them under. Underwood and Neal have had their sordid pasts revealed and exposed to the world. Now they have to decide how to go about mending their lives. I'm not going to reveal the outcome. See the picture for yourselves. You will be glad you did.