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.