Before you dismiss this film as another preachy religious film know that it won Best Film at the 2004 American Black Film Festival and Best American Film at the 2004 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Religion does play a part in the film, but it is not overwhelming or evangelical. Or at least I found it wasn't. The focus of the film is more about one young woman's struggle to overcome a horrific episode in her childhood. Forgiveness and seeking forgiveness is the theme of the film. It is based on the book and play by Bishop T.D. Jakes and is based on real-life testimonies and stories from his life as a priest. Director Michael Schultz (Which Way Is Up, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) has gotten a good cast together for the film and also good performances from them. His directorial style meshes with the script's straight forward style of story telling. He is not a modern director in the sense of how he tells his story but he really does a good job with the jail cell and revival meeting scenes. The DVD version is an extended version of the film which includes some footage not shown during its theatrical release.
Michelle Jordan (Kimberly Elise – The Manchurian Candidate, John Q) is a young woman who had a difficult life from the beginning. She lived with her mother, Cassey (Loretta Devine – Crash, I Am Sam), who was more interested in getting a boyfriend than she was about raising her daughter. She often would leave Michelle with her grandmother or her friend, Twana (Debbi Morgan – Coach Carter, Taxi Driver). Cassey soon hooks up with a no-good man named Reggie (Clifton Powell – Ray, Rush Hour). From the beginning Reggie is inappropriate with Michelle and finally one day when he is alone with her he molests her. Michelle tries to tell her mother but Cassey does not believe her. Due to this incident, Michelle's life becomes a downward spiral of stripping and drugs until she is arrested finally and jailed. When she is finally released Michelle reacquaints herself with a high school boyfriend named Todd (Michael Boatman – Running on Empty, The Peacemaker) and as part of parole agreement she starts attending church again. Things are going well except for the fact that her mother is still with Reggie and her former pimp, Pervis (Sean Blakemore – appeared on episodes of The OC and Cold Case), is harassing her. Michelle tries to deal with this unresolved occurrence and building a new life for herself at the same time. Unfortunately it is not always that easy and Michelle's life of pain and abuse gets even worse.
-Extended sermon clips
-Making of featurette
-About T.D. Jakes ministries
-Trailers for Chisholm '72: Unbought + Unbossed, The Hunting of the President and The Passion of the Christ