I should start off by saying that I had very low expectations for this film. I am not a fan of T.D. Jakes (pastor of a mega church, producer of the movie and author of the book off of which it is based), so I initially had no intention of seeing “Not Easily Broken.” I changed my mind for two reasons: one, because I like to support positive black films when I can and two, one of my favorite bloggers gave it a thumbs up.
Even given her praise though, I was still not expecting anything great from the movie. I didn’t get anything great either, but I did get more than I expected. In a lot of ways, the movie is basically your typical cookie-cutter romance flick with an ending tied with a bow. Morris Chestnut (who by the way is JUST as fine as he was in that club scene from “The Best Man”) plays the loving and out of luck husband of Taraji P. Henson‘s character whose over bearing mother played by Jennifer Lewis wreaks havoc on their marriage. A single mom proves to be bait for possible infidelity and Wood Harris (Avon from “The Wire”) pops in with a memorable performance. God and T.D. Jakes also have roles in the film.
Like I said, there’s a lot of typical movie-about-marriage stuff in the film, but Jakes does manage to steer clear of bashing the audience over the head with a Jesus stick. God is definitely a part of the film, but not in an eye-rolling kind of way. There are also surprisingly good bits of writing every now and then that seem to offer a pretty realistic glimpse into how “little” arguments get blown out of proportion in some relationships. The other thing that surprised me about this movie is the frank discussion that takes place between Taraji P. Henson’s character and Jennifer Lewis’ character about the whole “superwoman” complex that black woman often cling to and get relegated to. That was a nice touch, but overall, the movie definitely has a male bias. The basic story seems to be that women need to stop yammering and let their men take their annointed role as head of the household…and go have some babies too, damn it.
Eh. I have a lot of thoughts about why women (black women in particular) do need to let go of the superwoman thing, but this film kinda takes it to an extreme. It’s almost like men only do wrong when they are forced to do so by women. Some folks just can’t let go of that apple thing I see. Well, the black church can be extremely patriachal, so I’m not surprised and really not even completely offended. I (appropriately) laughed out loud at some moments and even felt sympathy for some characters. The movie is not awful, but not great either. I could have waited for it to come on In-Demand, but I’m glad I added to the box office dollars of a decent black film.