If you loved DEAD MAN WALKING as much as I did, then you'll also appreciate this prison-set film based on a book and a play by AME Bishop Jakes. Like Matthew Poncelet in Sr. Prejean's story, this one features a character who is a composite of several real life abused women whom the good bishop ministered to through the years. Michelle is on death row when Bishop Jakes visits her. At first she almost ignores him as she works on a model house made up of match sticks or small pieces of wood. She had not expected him to come, he being so big time--his face was on the cover of TIME Magazine--but it soon appears that their paths have crossed before and that her mother is one of the clerks who works in his evangelism campaign. Before going any further I should reassure any readers made nervous by the fact that a real-life bishop is a main character, that this is not one of those syrupy Billy Graham films. It is an unabashedly religious, no, a Christian film, but it is gritty in its realistic detailing of drug addiction, child abuse, prostitution and such, well deserving of its R rating. It is a compelling story of a woman's descent into hell and of her slow journey back. The cast is excellent, with Bishop Jakes playing himself--not just in the pulpit, but in some intense scenes in Michelle's prison cell that demand more than pulpit oratory. In another life he could have made it as an actor. The crew members are all Hollywood pros, so the production values are excellent. A neat symbol is the house on which Michelle labors so long over--it is the last thing we see before the fade to black and the credits roll, so it serves as a good symbol (far better than the full scale house in LIFE AS A HOUSE). There are plenty of interesting male, as well as female characters, so you shouldn't look at this as a "woman's film," nor as an African American one. Exploring the terrible damage those close to us can do to one another, and of the almost impossibility of forgiveness, it's a film that I will be thinking about for some time to come.