"Jesus Can Redeem Anyone"
What You Need To Know:
WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED has an explicitly Christian worldview where Jesus Christ represents freedom from the shackles of sin. Furthermore, it’s actually Jesus they’re talking about in the movie, not some abstract religious ideal. All of the characters change because of Christ’s movement in their lives. To represent the extremity of the transformations, however, physical abuse, drugs, alcohol, sex, and criminal violence are portrayed. What sets this movie apart from typical Christian movies is its more frank portrayal of such destructive decisions. Because it deals realistically with the pain and compulsion arising from sexual abuse, WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED is inappropriate for younger audiences, but it could speak powerfully to those who have seen abuse in their own lives. The acting from Debbi Morgan and Michael Boatman is especially good.
(CCC, Pa, H, L, VV, SS, AA, DD, M) Very strong worldview presents Christ as the only way to forgiveness and salvation, and also as a release from immoral ways of living, with lots of church scenes and explicit witnessing, and movie rebukes pagan behavior and unbelief; six light obscenities and three light profanities; man fatally shot, little girl beaten and molested off-screen, and woman slapped; child molested off-screen, brief flash of man and woman having intercourse with nothing graphic shown (rebuked), and cohabitation; no nudity but woman gets out of shower wearing towel; man gets very drunk and molests child; woman has history of drug use, seedy characters sit in dark room and do drugs, and drug dealer terrorizes ex-addict; and, lying, mother neglects child for man’s attention, and drug use, promiscuous sex, prostitution, molestation, cohabitation, murder, and excessive drinking rebuked because of the Gospel.
WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED is a peculiar movie. Based on the book by televangelist T.D. Jakes, it has an explicitly Christian worldview. Jesus Christ represents freedom from the shackles of sin and flesh. Furthermore, it’s actually Jesus they’re talking about in the movie, not some abstract religious ideal. All of the characters change by the end of the movie because of Christ’s movement in their lives. To represent the extremity of the transformations, however, the movie portrays physical abuse, drugs, alcohol, sex, and criminal violence.
What sets apart LOOSED from typical Christian movies is its more frank, less glossed over portrayal of those destructive decisions. As a child, Michelle Jordan is physically and sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. She becomes bitter and spirals downward into prostitution and drug abuse. Eventually, she experiences the hope that comes with knowing God and leaves her troubled past behind, though not without making some mistakes.
Realism is the goal here. In order to appeal to audiences who have experienced abuse or who know others that have, the filmmakers create a portrait of abuse, which shows that they know what they’re saying. Without that credibility, the answer they offer might be meaningless.
Statistics commonly show that as many as one in every three girls is sexually molested by the age of 18, and one in every four boys. These numbers are horrendous. LOOSED aims to speak to this huge population of abuse victims and tell them that they’re not alone or isolated, and also tell them that regardless of what has happened, Jesus can provide a way out of the sadness, compulsion and pain. The movie also speaks to the people who commit these acts, extending Jesus Christ’s redemption to them, too.
That resolution brings us to the peculiar part. WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED could be used by individuals or churches to start a dialogue about faith. It could be an evangelical tool to reach abuse victims. Many in the church community, however, will be put off by the brief sex flashback scene and the drug use, and they might lose sight of the movie’s potential effectiveness.
LOOSED doesn’t make for a fun date or a family night at the movies, but it is an uplifting experience, whether you relate to the story or not. There are some presentation problems, however. Michelle’s faux-poetic speech in the prison scenes, for example, is terribly grating. Also, the story’s timeline is a little hazy. Furthermore, T.D. Jakes seems to be omnipresent in the movie’s fictional world, on every television, but these intrusions are smoothly done for a low budget movie. The acting from Debbi Morgan and Michael Boatman is especially good.
Magnolia Pictures and the film’s producers should be commended for this effort. The more Christians can use movies to tell their stories without the trappings of a Sunday School video, the more their messages may be seen by mainstream audiences.
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