Any movie that is based on a self-help novel for women should be approached with caution, but Woman Thou Art Loosed succeeds in telling a story about finding peace and acceptance. Based on the book by Bishop T.D. Jakes, this film touches on many important issues facing females, including rape, poverty, drug abuse and prostitution.

The storyline emerges through a series of flashbacks as death row inmate Michelle (Kimberly Elise) searches for peace. The vignettes, which span from the time that Michelle is first sexually abused -- at eight years old -- until her last days in prison, describe a complicated and disturbing personal history. Director Michael Schultz reveals just enough action through these short clips to tell Michelle's story, all without making the viewer squirm through uncomfortable scenes of rape and abuse.

Despite the film's difficult issues, the characters display humor and spunk that is inspiring given their situations. The occasional jokes allow the audience some much needed relief from the film's dark content.

The script does not preach; however, religion serves as an important backdrop that ties together the story. After all, this is a film about hope and acceptance, a hard message to get through given the bleak context of the story. It's a challenging movie to watch, but one worth the emotional exertion.


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