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Movie Review

Not Easily Broken

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual references and thematic elements.

Reviewed by: Larry Barber
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Christian, Drama
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
January 9, 2009 (wide—600 theaters)
DVD: April 7, 2009
Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment

Christian Divorce and Remarriage—Under what conditions may Christians divorce and remarry? Answer

Divorce in the Bible

Marriage in the Bible

Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?

Admonish and rebuke

Featuring: Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Maeve Quinlan, Kevin Hart, Wood Harris, Eddie Cibrian, Jenifer Lewis, Niecy Nash, Cannon Jay, Albert Hall, Jeff Krebs, Nathaniel Carter, Brendon Terrell, Kwame Boateng, Henry Brown, Olivia Brown, Lee Reherman, Elizabeth Uhl, Justin Michael Carter, Gregg Bello, Louis C. Simon, Michael Taylor Gray, T.D. Jakes, Denetria Champ, Jesse Campbell, Terry Thomas, Baldwin Sykes, Garry Guerrier, Serita Jakes
Director: Bill Duke
“Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” “Knots Landing,” “Predator”
Producer: T.D. Jakes Ministries, Screen Gems, Bill Duke, Brian Bird, Steven Brown, Morris Chestnut, Clint Culpepper, T.D. Jakes, Aaron Norris, Curtis Wallace
Distributor: Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment

This film is based on a novel by Bishop T.D. Jakes.

“Life tries to break you. Love holds you together.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “After years of disagreeing on what true happiness, success, and love really are, Dave and Clarice Johnson have finally reached a breaking point in their marriage. When Clarice is hurt in a car accident, the obvious truth that more than just her injuries need immediate attention is exposed. Their odds of making it worsen as Clarice begins to see a physical therapist, and Dave develops a friendship with Julie and her teenage son Bryson. The acceptance and comfort he finds in them stirs his longing for a family and a passionate partner. As temptation tugs at Dave and Clarice pulls farther away, they must confront whether their vows are or are NOT EASILY BROKEN.”

The three strands of rope!! I had never heard that statement until this movie. The theory is that in a marriage there should be three strands, one for each party involved and the third for God. Without the third strand, the two cannot make a strong bond. This movie deals with a couple in what is at first thought to be a good and loving relationship—until trouble comes knocking at the door. Then the little problems that were not so evident, at first, come out into the open. Without giving away too many details let’s just say that both sides have people that are leading them into situations that are not good for the marriage. It isn’t until they both realize the need for looking to God that things begin to correct themselves. This is not something that is very noticeable, since neither of them really state it, but it is mentioned by their bishop.

On the bad side, as some of the comments on this movie have stated, WAY too much language for a movie touted as “Christian.” They use the *ss word so many times in the first 5-10 minutes that it is annoying, and I would have been appalled had I gone to see it at the theater. Yes, it has other language that is not needed, as well, but I won’t go into detail about it. I would like to focus somewhat on the good aspects of this movie.

First, we see good friendships that actually help to lead the couple back in the right direction, instead of giving all the bad advice that we so often see in movies. Second, we see a couple that does not want to let the world get in the way of their relationship. Third, we see a pastoral leader that steps up and informs one of the two of a situation that is getting in the way of their relationship, without making them look bad to everyone. That is exactly what we are supposed to do for our fellow brothers and sisters when they are not acting or doing as they should. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells us,

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

My final thoughts on this movie are this: the producer (T.D. Jakes and Curtis Wallace) could have used any other dialogue than he did to get the message across without all the language that was present. I know that he was trying to give this movie a “real feel,” but do Christians (or should Christians) talk like this? I think that our “religious community” is still in the process of changing the values of the Bible to blend not only with society but what we want God to accept in our lives.

I liked this film because it shows that marriage is an important thing and that trouble WILL come along at some time to test your love and devotion to one another. It also shows a couple that is willing to try and make it work, even though most people would have already given up. In this day and age, we are so quick to throw in the towel in a marriage, over the little things. I can’t really say that I would recommend this movie to other Christians due to the language, if not for that it is an absolutely wonderful movie with a great storyline and cast. They all blended well and make the film very enjoyable. If a lot of mild language does not bother you, then this will be a good pick, but keep the youngin’s out, as there is language.

Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—…Who, I mean really, counts curse words in the dialog? This movie is one I would recommend to any married couple, christian or otherwise who are going through somethings. Was the cursing needed? Probably not, but so many seemed to focus on that than what was really going on in the film. I’ve seen this in many reviews here and it disturbs me. I have heard “Christians” and “church goers” curse far worse than this and still be looked at in reverence. This movie tells a real story, not someone jumping out a plane and landing a car to live, but a real story about real people and how outside forces (i.e. Satan) can rip apart something God ordained if we let it. Ignore the cursing and get this movie, you won’t be disappointed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Conrad, age 41 (USA)

Response from reviewer: There are people who find the type of language in this film not only offensive but damaging to their lives as Christians. Short and sweet, by allowing our ears to be constantly berated by the type of language that is present in this film we allow our minds to wander from the truth of the gospel. Hebrews 3:1 says; “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” We cannot fix our thoughts on Jesus if we are fixing our ears on vile language. Once again, while the message for this movie was good, the language was NOT a necessity and could have been replaced with something else.
Larry Barber, age 46 (USA)

Positive—I think there could be a bit of a cultural divide that is driving some of the negative criticisms about the language used in this movie. In some communities the words you’ve mentioned might be considered a little “salty” but not really offensive—it all comes down to your culture and community. For example, I’ve heard foreign expressions and words used on regular TV here in the US that are basically considered the equivalent of the F-word in the country/culture that they originate from and would never be broadcast over the air. I’ve also lived overseas and heard the most shocking American curses being used without people associating the same kind of negative connotations that would go with these words when they are spoken here.

And to complicate things even more, there are words which are perfectly fine in one language, but may be a curse in another. With this in mind, and the fact that the Bible doesn’t include a list of what words are acceptable for use and which aren’t, I think we need to all extend a little grace and love towards our brothers and sisters who were behind this film. They obviously made a conscious effort to not be offensive, so let’s try not to judge them too harshly if it didn’t quite rise up to our individual personal standards.

Lastly, I think it’s important for people to understand that “Christian movie” does not mean "Children’s movie". Just as there are passages in the Bible that children aren’t ready for and Sunday sermons on certain topics that children aren’t ready for, there can be and are Christian movies that are not suitable for children. This site is a great resource for figuring that out before we get to the box office, so let’s all use it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Marc, age 37 (USA)
Negative
Negative—My husband and I went to see this movie with 2 other friends, and we all were disappointed. Although the movie did have a good message about marriage, the use of one particular curse word was very annoying. I also felt like the part with the husband having a dream about Julie was a bit sensual for a christian movie. I will not go and see another movie in the future (even “christian” movies), until I visit this site and find out what the reviews are. Thank you for this site.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Rebecca, age 46 (USA)
Negative—…**WARNING**!! The curseword *ss was used approximately SIX TIMES in the first ten minutes. I stopped counting after its 12th time throughout the movie and left dazed and confused. Also, …the word d*mn… was also used and I stopped counting after it’s 5th time! …What if I would have brought my children to see this “christian” movie?! I can’t give you a total review because I HAD TO WALK OUT of this “christian” movie because it was the Christ-like thing to do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Sidney W., age 35 (USA)
Negative—I was very disappointed with the use of one word in particular, it was not necessary. A less offensive even slang word could have been used. One scene in particular with the guys when they were focused in on the subject matter of that particular word was terrible! Having said that, I am extremely surprised that Bishop Jakes did not oppose the use of this word or that he would have written this material. I have followed his ministry for years and been blessed and carried through some difficult times, so I am concerned that this is the quality of work he is now presenting to us. I would not recommend this movie as a good Christian Movie. People who just go to church may use this language, but those with a real relationship with Jesus Christ do not. I watched the entire movie, hoping that some reference would be made to the meaningless use of profanity. And yes I know that the word is in the Bible…but not in the context used in the movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Valorie, age 58 (USA)
Movie Critics
…a sensitive and near thorough examination of modern masculinity and the black man…
—Sara Schieron, Boxoffice Magazine
…Solid acting… leavens the soap opera with a big heart and lots of belly laughs. …
—Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
…God, says the clergyman, must be the third partner in a marriage. What this means as the movie plays out, however, places more emphasis on humanist decency than theology: Do good for your community; take care of each other; don’t be too materialistic. …
—Theresa Everline, Austin Chronicle
…One-sided story paints husband as injured party, wife as source of all blame in a film meant to focus on God’s role in relationship…
—Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun
…“Not Easily Broken” gets too preachy with its message… can’t avoid the stereotypes…
—Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
…a routine and formulaic project that could have reached considerably greater emotional and psychological depths…
—Robert Koehler, Variety