It has always been a quiet trend for commentators and community leaders to address the inner workings of relationships and the bonds between men and women.
Last week, Steve Harvey was promoting his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, on his radio show. He talked about the mistakes women make and how men think. Bishop T. D. Jakes has also addressed this topic in his book, Not Easily Broken, which is now a movie of the same name.
I wondered why, all of a sudden, relationships are so topical. I didn’t have to wonder long. Nowadays, it’s very hard to have a successful relationship. Of course, both the man and the woman, or significant others, have to work hard to make the relationship work and last.
As a single woman, I can attest to the fact that it’s very hard to find a good, faithful man. But, what’s so great about Harvey’s book and Jakes’ book and movie is that they don’t just address the cheating man. They take it a step further and show why some men cheat and what we as women do wrong that drives men away. As much as it hurts to say, it’s not always the man’s fault.
In Not Easily Broken, the movie, Dave Johnson (played by Morris Chestnut) and Clarice Clark (Taraji P. Henson) are a married couple with a few problems. But, over the years, those problems get magnified and their relationship suffers. Clarice has an accident, which leaves her temporarily paralyzed. Dave loves his wife, but she’s not that nice to him, and he just wants to have children.
Clarice is the kind of woman who has a great man and knows he’s always going to be there. So she treats him like garbage and talks to him as if he were a child. She even throws in his face that she makes more money than he does, refuses to have sex with him (even though he’s one of the sexiest men I’ve ever seen), and lives extravagantly on a shoe-string budget.
Any idiot could see how lucky Clarice is to have her lifestyle and her gorgeous, sexy, faithful husband. But all she seems to care about is making more money and being more successful. I think Henson captures her quite well, since I loathed Clarice.
Did I forget to mention the mother factor? Mary “Mama” Clark (Jenifer Lewis) is the mother-in-law from hell. Lewis’ portrayal wasn’t the loud mouth she’s used to playing, but she was still a force to be reckoned with. Mama Clark drives such a wedge into Dave and Clarice’s marriage, it’s a wonder Clarice is still speaking to her mother. What’s worse is that Clarice listens to her mother’s bad advice, leading to a split between Dave and Clarice.
What I like about screenwriter Brian Bird’s adaptation is that he shows the flaws that most women have and puts them all into this one character, Clarice. Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of Clarice in all of us women, good and bad. I’m sure many of you don’t agree, but when you go see this film, because I know you will, you’ll catch a glimpse of something you’ve done.
I’ve seen a little of me in Clarice, and I didn’t like what I saw. I’d say Bird did his job well in showcasing the character, Clarice. Of course, director Bill Duke had a little hand in that, as well.
Duke’s style of directing is nothing new. He didn’t do anything different from what most directors would have done. His directing wasn’t spectacular, but it was good enough to carry the script to screen nicely.
Other actors of note include Jakes and his wife, Serita Jakes, who simply play Allen and Allen’s wife, as listed on www.imdb.com. They are good at conveying thoughts with looks alone.
Eddie Cibrian, as Brock Houseman, is one of Dave’s best friends and totally typecast as the hot player. Maeve Quinlan, as Julie Sawyer, is great as Clarice’s physical therapist, but I’m not sure she has the right look for the part she was given. I don’t see star quality. Kevin Hart, as Tree, is the comic relief of the movie and Mr. Sensitivity. He stole all of his scenes.
Niecy Nash, as Michelle, Clarice’s good friend and co-worker, was typecast, too. Albert Hall, as Bishop Wilkes, gives quiet counseling, which is just what Clarice and Dave need to calm their turbulent relationship; great casting. Last, but not least, is Wood Harris as Darnell Gooding. Harris is a good actor, but somehow lost his flair in this film. His serious moments evoke laughter from the audience. I don’t think that was in the script.
Relationships are always hard; whether it’s between friends, lovers, parents or siblings. They all need work. I love the fact that Jakes had the woman as the villain. It’s time we women took responsibility for the roles we play in why our relationships don’t work. Not that we play that big of a role. The men are still at fault, too. It’s just now, Not Easily Broken has opened up a line of communication for us to discuss the roles we play and try to overcome the obstacles that we face every day. Because the bonds between man and wife (or life partner) should be Not Easily Broken.