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WOMAN, THOU ART LOOSED

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When a film opens with a woman unloading a gun during church, you know you're on the bumpy road of female melodrama. Michael Schultz's adaptation of Rev. T.D. Jakes' novel about a young woman whose life is derailed by childhood abuse spins out like a tougher Lifetime movie entwined with a T.D. Jakes infomercial. The reverend's on board as counselor as Michelle (Kimberley Elise) sorts out her troubled life -- from her neglectful mother to a descent into drugs and tentative attempts to go straight. With good support from Loretta Devine and Debbi Morgan, the film manages to be sharp and sassy -- without profanity. Woman, obviously aimed at the faithful, hones true to its church roots -- preferring forgiveness to blame, exhibiting compassion for struggles, and ultimately offering an explicit, if simplistic, message of personal redemption. None of it is particular insightful, but Woman's got more fancy hats and hand-clapping than anything on Lifetime. Starts Fri., Oct. 22.

 

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