What makes a promise--and a marriage? The deep success of the fearless yet ultimately positive film Not Easily Broken is that it doesn't attempt to answer that question--only ask it, bravely, from many different perspectives. Morris Chesnutt and Taraji P. Henson give deep, heartfelt performances as Dave and Clarice, a married couple with shards of friction working at their bonds. Their lives are instantly relatable, as they deal with waves of boredom, distraction, conflicting goals, and deep love they may sometimes take for granted. After Clarice is injured, her overbearing mom (Jenifer Lewis) moves in to help care for her, and a chain of tests and challenges begins to unfold. The career-focused Clarice has a mini-showdown with her well intentioned mother: "In all your lessons about how to be strong, you left out some very important things," Clarice cries to her mother (Jenifer Lewis), who snaps, "What?" "How to love, Mama!" The film, based on the novel by the best-selling author T.D. Jakes, embraces spirituality, but never preaches (a combination that would be welcome in more films about relationships and family), and the decisions of its characters are always believable--sometimes heartbreakingly so. Savor the real-world rewards, and the spiritual overtones, of a love fought for, in Not Easily Broken.
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