Woman Thou Art Loosed

If Woman Thou Art Loosed was predominantly Caucasian instead of African-American, no doubt Ashley Judd would star.  This is the same type of woman in jeopardy movie that she seems to gravitate to, something that would be right at home on the Lifetime network.  Stan Foster (Hangman's Curse, Hood Rat) adapted the screenplay from the novel and play by TD Jakes, a preacher who appears in the film as himself (like he did in Tribulation and Left Behind), and conveniently gives himself long stretches of time where the camera simply watches him as he gives his sermon.  The intentions behind Woman Thou Art Loosed are noble, but because Jakes is such a large part of the film, it feels like a big infomercial for himself.

The film, directed by Michael Schultz, is capably made.  What sinks it is the level of melodrama used to convey its ideas.  The acting is over-the-top and the characterizations are a tad simplistic, which ruins some of the quieter moments necessary in order for a film like this to retain its power.  The protagonist is Michelle Jordan (Kimberly Elise, The Manchurian Candidate, John Q.), and the film finds her in jail.  She asked to speak with Jakes, who comes to visit her despite never having met her.  The film begins with Jordan opening fire in the middle of a service presided by Jakes, and then flashes back and forth to show the circumstances that led to this.  Jordan did not lead an easy life.  She grew up without a father, and her mother Cassey (Loretta Devine, I Am Sam, Kingdom Come) was more concerned with the men she dated than Jordan.  Cassey ended up with Reggie (Clifton Powell, Never Die Alone, Civil Brand), an all-around loser.  Everybody can see this except for Cassey.

Jordan is immediately wary of Reggie, and it turns out this is for good reason.  In a pretty effectively horrific sequence, he molests her.  When she tells Cassey, Cassey doesn't believe her own daughter.  Jordan's downward spiral through life begins.  She did drugs and stripped, but most of the film occurs when she got out of prison for the first time.  Jordan wanted to start anew.  She tried unsuccessfully to reconnect with Cassey, who was still with Reggie and worked for Jakes.  She hoped to do better things with her life, yet the past kept coming up and prevented her from doing so. 

Elise is an actress on her way up through Hollywood.  She has already starred twice with Denzel Washington.  Woman Thou Art Loosed is the kind of movie that only her most rabid fans will remember, because it is not that memorable.  Her performance here is decent, but a little too broad.  The same goes for everybody else.  Devine is too air-headed, and Powell is plainly a monster.  He is great in these roles, but when it comes down to it, there needs to be something more than just physical violence.  And Jakes is in the film far too much.  If he wanted to make this a straight sermon, it would work, and he should be in it more.  But the long sermons that are marginally related to the plot drag down the primary story.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated R for violence, sexual content, and drug use.

Back to Movies