Screenwriter Kia Barbee (@kiabarbee) from Elmhurst Entertainment, an occassional S&A contributor and avid reader, agreed to give us some of her thoughts in this short review of TD Jakes' Woman Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day, co-written and directed by Neema Barnette.
Following the film's opening weekend box office success, grossing just about $650,000 in only 102 theaters across the country, Tambay posted an exclusive interview this morning with Jeff Clanagan, the CEO of Codeblack Entertainment, in charge of the film's distribution via AMC theaters' independent film release initiative. Check out that interview HERE, in which Clanagan discusses his success strategy.
Also, if you haven't, read our exclusive interview with director Barnette HERE, in which she discusses re-writes, working with the cast, and her vision for the film's narrative.
To recap, On The 7th Day is the story of "Kari (played by Sharon Leal) and David Ames (played by Blair Underwood) have seemingly built the perfect life until Kari’s dark past is unveiled following the kidnapping of their 6-year old daughter. As the couple desperately searches for their child, Kari realizes she’s not the only one who has secrets. Forced to confront the truth, life spirals out of control for both of them in this independent psychological thriller."
Without much further ado, read Kia Barbee's thoughts on the film below:
I must admit, upon hearing about WATLO7D production last year, my immediate thought was… pass. I’m not really a fan of films that have forced religious messages hanging in the backdrop. So I start with this because I’m sure it’s an assumption felt by others. Well… I certainly misjudged what turned out to be an enjoyable surprise.
The film opens with a monologue convincingly delivered by Sharon Leal speaking of what happens on each day (assumingly for those of us who aren’t aware--biblically speaking that is). We get some cute interactions of the loving couple and adorable daughter before all goes awry. As with most kidnap thrillers, there are subplots that either bring the family closer or tear them apart. The latter holds true in this film, but introduces some unpredictable twists that are directly related to the kidnapping itself.
There are more than a few times when the theme of forgiving one’s past becomes distractingly heavy handed and at times long winded, but as mentioned the escalating mystery of the main storyline was engaging enough to keep the audience from getting bored.
Barnette’s skill with inserting visual motifs to match the emotions of the characters added a sense of positive confusion and angst. I found the scenes between Leal and Underwood to be the highlight for me. Leal’s depiction of a grieving mom with a shady past portrayed with an alluring subtlety was a cool match to Underwood’s macho fiery.
It was the performances from a talented cast which included Nicole Beharie, who never disappoints, that left a pleasant taste in my mouth. Director Neema Barnette certainly knows how to utilize the talent offered to her, allowing them to interact uninhibited. There was, at least in my opinion, no unnecessary melodramatic moments, which was refreshing. Even Pam Grier’s campy depiction of a cowboy hat wearing tough detective was fun to watch.
WATLO7D gets my stamp of approval for being a straight to the bone dramatic thriller with fine performances from an all black cast that doesn’t focus on race not one iota… Kudos.
There you have it folks. I have yet to see the film; it's screening about two hours away from me. But, for those who caught it this past weekend, feel free to share your thoughts!
To find out where it's screening nearest you, check out AMC's website HERE.