Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Bishop T.D. Jakes’ New Movie ‘Not Easily Broken’

posted by Nell Minow

I was privileged to attend the very first showing of the upcoming film “Not Easily Broken,” based on the book by the Bishop T. D. Jakes and starring three of my favorite performers, Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, and Jennifer Lewis. It is the story of a young couple struggling to keep their connection to each other and to God in the early years of marriage. And it is the first of what Bishop Jakes hopes will be a series of films with compelling stories told with heart and without crassness, profanity, or violence. It was made for a very small budget as a labor of love and they are trying to get the word out now so that the opening week’s box office will be big enough to persuade Hollywood to make some more.
There was a half-hour delay in getting the film started, which was fine with me because Bishop Jakes picked up a microphone to talk to us. It was a great pleasure to see his extraordinary ability to bring an audience together. It took him just a couple of seconds to turn to Washington’s largest movie theater into a congregation and to make us feel involved and connected. After the film, he, director Bill Dukes, and producer-star Morris Chestnut spoke about the project and answered some questions.
I can’t post a review until the film opens in January, but I can say that I very much appreciate their effort to create meaningful stories with good values that are unapologetically positive about spirituality and to create roles with some depth for these talented actors. It made me think again of how few movies there are that begin where most movies end — with a wedding — and talk about what marriage and happily-ever-after really mean. I’ll have another post on that topic soon.

  • jestrfyl

    You have certanly picqued my interest more than any movie advertisement could. I understand how this is a low-buget film; no explosions, no space ships or latex aliens, no animated animals, probably not even any stunt doubles. So this is proof that low-budget does not equate with low quality. It simply means that the big-salaried stars and time/money consuming special effects were left out. Does this mean they are actually relying on the story and characters to carry the film? What a novel idea!
    I am not sure just what I think of T.D. Jakes – my middle class, middle age, white, male, mainstream protestant (liberal) perspective has not found a way to thoroughly embrace his presence. But I have been impressed with some of the work he has done. So given your preview and the benefit of the doubt – as well as interest in seeing a plot-driven film – I may just go see this when it opens in a few months. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • rickybg1

    I too had the privilege of being present at the first showing of this excellent movie. This movie is certainly a breath of fresh air given the direction our culture is heading. Let’s pack the theaters for this one on the opening weekend. And as for “The Man” (Bishop Jakes), I have always admired him as a great preacher and leader but have not always agreed with some of his stances. But after spending 4 days in his presence I am convinced that this man is a once in a lifetime, awesomly annoninted, exquisetly gifted and extraordinarily talented man of God. THE greatest preacher of our time.

  • Babetta

    I too am interested in seeing this movie. I enjoy the starring actors and the idea behind the story. I watched “Woman Thou Art Loosed” when it came out a while back, so I am sure this will also be a high caliber film,even if the budget is low.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Babetta! I am looking forward to seeing it again and especially to interviewing Taraji P. Henson, who is one of my favorite performers. I hope you will return and let me know what you think of the movie.

  • Lisa Varrie

    My husband and I and we took my mother to see this movie. Loved it can’t wait until it comes out of dvd. This movie shows real life, day to day struggles and reality. Every movie that Bishop T.D Jakes has put out I have seen and will continue to support. God Bless You Bishop Jakes

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you, Lisa! I am so glad you enjoyed this wonderful movie. I hope it does well enough that it will lead to more movies of this kind, with so much sincerity and generosity of spirit.

  • Your Name

    I took my sister and daughter to this movie, and I couldnt believe all the cussing that was in the movie. My husband had asked me what was it rated. and i thought that because it was put out by T.D. Jakes that it would be a rated pg not PG 13. The moment we steped in to my house my five year old told my husband that there were bad words in the film. I was really affended that i couldnt go and see a film that was suppose to be catered to christians but it was not.This film has T.D. Jakes name on it. I can’t believe it.

  • Nell Minow

    I appreciate your comments, which will be very helpful to readers considering whether it is appropriate for them. I note, however, that it is a PG-13 film about a very adult subject and not intended for children, and you should always check the reasons for the rating carefully before deciding whether you want to see a film.

  • W.Hall

    I would have to say that the ending was great, but expected. I also agree that there was way too much cussing in it for it to be a Christian based film. Its suppose to be inspirational and at the same time, showing us that we need God in our lives, but we have to listen to the filth coming out of their mouths.

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you very much, W. Hall. I regret the widespread use of bad language throughout society and am sorry Preacher Jakes thought it necessary to include it in this film to make it more “relevant.”

  • Your Name

    I don’t know about anyone else…but Christian or not, people curse ESPECIALLY when they are angry, hurt or otherwise extremely emotional. It doesn’t necessarily make it acceptable, but it is real. It is questionable why T. Dexter chose to use profanity, but that question is not a question of relevance. I understand that we would like Christian elements to be high brow and sterile, but Christians DO NOT live like that. They sin and fall short and use inappropriate language, and have illicit affairs, etc. Try to remember that you are human and have yet to ascend to the angels, and that the best way to exude your ideals to others is to practice them rather than to preach them.

  • Tamara

    “Sunday morning saint, Monday morning ain’t” is the way that I used to look at people who cursed. Tried and convicted. The more I got to know other cultures the more I understood that each one is different. Words are words and the power that they have are only what we give them. I have always believe people curse because they don’t have the intelligence or patience to use the words that they want to use. Most people don’t curse without passion or anger behind it. I have noticed that “black comedies” have more cursing and sexual inuendos that many shows but I wasn’t raise in that culture. I have really begun to enjoy Tyler Perry’s movies. I enjoy them because even though they have lots of talk that I don’t agree with the message is about staying together, bettering yourself and your community and being the best you can be, taking care of each other. It isn’t about violence and sending the wrong message.
    The truth is that christians do curse, they do things that make us all unworthy and unperfect but it is about trying to do the right thing by God. Kids need to receive movies in the situations as their parents interpret them to them. I tell my kids all the time, not to judge others poor choices. Be the best they can be and don’t follow them down the wrong road. Our kids need to empathetic but not enablers.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for a wise comment, Tamara, beautifully expressed. I agree. My mother always says bad language is the sign of a failure of imagination.

  • W. R.

    My spouse and I went to see this movie. I’m sure glad our children didn’t accompany us this time. The cursing was so abrupt and disappointing. A good movie doesn’t need cursing to make it better. All Christians do not curse. All Christians do not have affairs. All Christians are not perfect, but do screen writers have to make Christians look worse on such a HUGE screen before a HUGE audience? We are so surprised at Jakes approval on this movie. Was it money or the message? Just keeping it real.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for a great comment, W.R. I am sure that Reverend Jakes thought he was keeping it real by making his characters so imperfect but I know some audience members felt let down by the harshness of some of the material.

  • Your Name

    I am very dissapointed with T.D. Jakes producing a moving with such blatant gratuitous cursing.While I know that I am not perfect, as a christian we should strive to walk, talk and live like our mentor (Jesus). I cannot imagine Jesus writing and producing a movie filled with cursing in order to give it wider appeal.Pastor Jakes is in error.We are to hold eachother accountable out of love.He appears to be in love with the world that he is supposed to be coming out of as evidenced by many other occurrences. This is yet another reason that I question the truth of his conviction and will do more than talk but pray for him as well as all christians. May all of us pray and think deeply about our witness at such a crucial time in world history.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughtful comment. I understand your perspective but also understand that Reverend Jakes wants to reach more than the people who already hear his message. He wants to speak to those who cannot hear except in their own language, and I believe many people will find meaning and inspiration in this film.

  • Bill Berryman

    My wife and I rented this film last week with the intention of watching a clean, God filled movie with some humor tied into it. We have a TV guardian but being as it was a “TD Jakes production felt that we had nothing to worry about and watched it in our bedroom without the guardian. What a mistake. We were not only completely let down from him, we filled our minds with garbage that we have strived to keep out of our house completely. I cant imagine anyone who calls himself a man of the cloth to be a part of, much less encourage people to watch a film of this magnitude. No one is perfect, but my goodness is there any seperation between a Christian and a lost person anymore? To portray these two charactors as Christians is very questionable. On top of all that God wasnt even a focus on the movie, there were only a select few scenes that had anything to do with the Lord. TD I love you, I hope you will repent of subjecting some of your own flock as well as thousands of believers to this worldly movie and let the Lord Jesus cleanse the blood that has to be on your hands from this message. I had great faith in Bishop Jakes and told my wife about him and how great of a man of God he was. Her first impression of him was from this movie, and she was like this is the guy you were talking about? Once again we will pray for him, and hope this warns many believers of watching this film.

  • Nell Minow

    Thank you very much, Mr. Berryman. I hope in the future you will take a look at my reviews before watching a film — if you read what I wrote about Not Easily Broken you can see that I cautioned viewers about the language and behavior in this film. Jakes says that he does this to reach the audiences who need him rather than the audiences who have already accepted the validity of these principles and that it adds a layer of reality that speaks to people. But I respect those, like you and your family, who find it troubling and that is why I am careful to let people know in my reviews what to expect, so they can determine whether it is right for them. You should know that any movie with a PG-13 rating is going to have this kind of harshness, no matter who made it.
    I appreciate your comment, which will be very helpful to people who want to know more about this film, and send my best wishes to you and your family.

  • http://Stereotypes gdylan1

    I was appalled by the black man wants white girl stereotype, the movie was okay but as a brotha, this really upset me and a couple of other brothas I know, what a let down.

  • Dena Lopez

    After reading the previous reviews, I am almost ashamed to categorize myself as a Christian. Jesus said is it the well who need a physician or the sick. He sat and ate with the sinners not the religious people. As Christians we are called to reach what seems to be the unreachable. Not cater to the pharisees. A BIG SHOUT OUT TO YOU TD, great job. Lets not forget why we are left on this earth after we receive salvation.

  • Nell Minow

    A wonderful comment, Dena, thanks! This movie really touched me in part because it felt real and not “preachy.” As your comment, did, too.

  • Alexandra

    oh…what a great film in fact this film brought great changes in my couple… heard a lot about you T.D and really i have taken the most important lesson from this film and today thanks to the Lord…everything is working as it should be..

  • Nell Minow

    Blessings on you and all you love, Alexandra, and many thanks for this lovely comment.

  • White Guy

    This was a good movie that shows people DO have values and can overcome sin and temptation via faith and prayer. I also like the fact that the black characters are not portrayed as over emotional or hypersexed etc but in the end, very admirable. The minister is not shouting but gives sage advice. When was the last time I saw a mainstream movie like this? Ummmm never. I think it will inspire even lukewarn religious folks regardless of race. BTW I saw it on Comcast cable.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, WG! Much appreciated.


    Get Ready,get ready halaa…even though i have never watched the movie,the fact that Bishop T.D jakes is among the actors makes me to believe that its a good,inspering,motivating movie.The Bishop himself has a touch in all that he does.Obviously, there is alot to be learned from it.Way to go Bishop and all those who has ensured that this project becomes a reality.
    love u all,may God bless and keep u safe.

  • N Belcher

    I watched “Not Easily Broken” and was very surprised how much bad language it had all the way through it, the bar,drinkingt and bed scene and then to mix it in with church, WWJD? none of these I can assure you. This is a movie not fit for a christian to watch much less a well known pastor and evangelist to write and produce, very surprised and upset, this is a secular book and movie produced by TD Jakes, whats next?

  • Nell Minow

    I am sorry you were disappointed, N Belcher. Reverend Jakes says that he wants these stories to be not just aspirational and inspirational but authentic, to speak to people who do not always do the right thing. I would not call this a secular story. From the very first moment, the importance of a close connection with God is clearly expressed and the failure to follow His word is compellingly portrayed.
    I understand that you do not want to see movies with this kind of material and my reviews will always make it clear what is in the film so you can make another choice. But I think that for many audiences, this film will reach them like a sermon.

  • NBelcher

    Im sorry that people are deceived by a pastor and evangelist that is so tied in with the hollywood scene that he loses sight of whats right and wrong in the church today, people need to hear what it takes to go to heaven and what will take a person to hell and not candycoat the truth, the language used,drinking in a bar, and sexual content is not ok and then go to church, it sends the wrong signal for newborn christians that are struggling and now think its ok for that kind of lifestyle since it seems like it was only their marriage in trouble but not the other, you can make movies without all the secular and still be a great movie, Fireproof was about marriage and God and is a great movie without all the secular drama!

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks NBelcher — I do try to let my readers know about the good movies that meet those standards as well.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment John Teets

    I liked the message of Not Easily Broken, but found the language totally absurd. I am a strong Christian, and cursing is totally absent from my life and the lives of serious Christians who take God seriously – let NO filthy communication… I had one of TD’s Cd’s for married couples and it was one and done – there was simply something unclean about it. I was invited to Ju,ping the Broom, but heard Michael Medved’s review on it – he really liked it but said it should have been rated “R” for abundant sexual references and raunchy humor. I have noted Christians more than ever using foul language. The only “real” aspect of that is that it is of the devil. COuld you honestly take Jesus Christ in with you to see that stuff? NO! That is the standard I was taught, and it is still a wise one to use today.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tanya B

    Wow! I’m really surprised! The very last thing I remembered was the foul language. I received so much more from the movie that the cursing was almost invisible. I agree that not everyone curses and cheats but there is so much going on in the church that this portrayal was mild compared to the reality. I feel like some people live in a bubble. I’m not ashamed to be a christian. I’m ashamed of what’s going on in the church and if you don’t keep your eyes open, you will be caught off guard and won’t know what to do with yourself. I like that he showed all aspects of it. Christians have had to interact with all walks of people and learn to keep an open spirit but still learn to maintain inside their oikos.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks for a great comment, Tanya! Beautifully stated and right on the money. Much appreciated.

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