Having drifted apart emotionally, a sudden accident leaves Clarice in need of round-the-clock care from Dave and extensive physical therapy from Julie Sawyer. Unfortunately, Clarice’s overbearing mother moves in unannounced and drives the schism between Dave and Clarice even further apart . . . perhaps far enough to drive Dave to another woman.
All around Not Easily Broken is a strong and powerful film. The writing is specific and precise, with no wordy segments except with the very opening moments of the film. Similarly, the acting is strong, especially from Dave (Morris Chestnut) and Clarice (Taraji P. Henson). While the film deals with the emotionally charged themes of marriage, adultery, and male/female roles, the filmmakers aptly injected a good measure of humor into the story, especially from one of Dave’s friends, Tree (Kevin Hart). Only a few scenes with Clarice’s mother (Jenifer Lewis) seemed a bit two-dimensional, but the film takes the stereotypical role of a mother-in-law and breathes life into the part.
The cinematography also adds an unspoken depth to Not Easily Broken. Sometimes shocking, and other times comforting, the subtle uses of light and angles aptly draw the viewer into the emotion of a scene.
Morally, the film is undergirded with a pro-marriage, Christian worldview. With that stated, though, Not Easily Broken is not a film for all members of the family. The movie does not restrain itself from showing the viewer the gritty side of life. Profanity is used frequently, as well as a few instances of violence, and conversations of sex (both in and out of marriage) occur throughout the film. Especially jarring are the threats a father yells at his son. The film is appropriately rated PG-13 for thematic and sexual elements.
Ultimately, though, the movie is redemptive. Marriage is shown to be a “cord of three strands, not easily broken” (Ecc. 4:12), with God making the third strand. Characters find reconciliation, and purpose in God’s design for marriage. I also appreciated the thematic treatment of masculinity. Throughout the film Clarice can be seen ignoring Dave’s masculinity, and it could be argued that she is also attempting to feminize Dave. Without giving away too much, the movie shows how women can still be strong women, while men can retain their masculine strength.
Not Easily Broken is not a movie for young viewers, or even younger teenagers. But for those who have been exposed to the difficulties of life and marriage, this film is a great journey for individuals to undertake. It correctly shows the adversity in relationships . . . especially those relationships that have not included God in their cord of three strands.
A native New Yorker, Nathan now resides in Southern California where he serves as a youth pastor, attends seminary at Biola University, regularly blogs and continues writing sci-fi/fantasy novels.Nathan and his talented wife Kristin both serve at Valencia Hills Community Church where Nathan also maintains a youth blog. His first book Untold (2006) is currently available over at Amazon or over at his personal website.