This movie is an encouragement for anyone who has had to leave behind a world of disappointment and bondage. In other words, just about everyone will get something out of this remarkable movie, inspired by the real-life story of Denise Reed. In the film, Sheena Georges turns in a stunning performance as Amy Stronghold, a woman who has lost everything but her life.
Amy’s husband Jonathan (Thomas R. Clatterbuck) died years before, leaving her to raise a young daughter, Kia (Yeshara Ruth). Kia has been in and out of foster homes, hoping her mother, who is in jail when the movie begins, can get her life together so they can be reunited and have a home of their own. Sadly, the streets and the jails have been Amy’s home. A guard at the jail tells her, as she is about to leave, to make something of her life.
Amy’s problems go further back than the death of her husband. Her mother handcuffed her at home as she was leaving one evening to go out, but her mother was shot and never returned for her.
Now, Amy hangs out with a bad crowd, including a guy named Frank who exploits her for his own financial gain. Amy also got into trouble for possession of drugs.
The strong performances, symbolism, and lively upbeat music make this an enjoyable watch, and the viewer will be wondering, “What happens to Amy? Does she get her life together? Does she get her daughter Kia back?”
After a few Christian people help her by doing her hair, and taking her shopping to buy clothes, her old boss that fired her even gives her back her old job of cleaning the local docks. A Native American that preaches to the homeless, named Chief, is also instrumental in getting Amy to think about God. When Amy lands a nice apartment it looks like her dreams of getting Kia back is within her grasp.
However, Amy’s old friends, drinkers and drug addicts, visit her home and the next thing you know, Amy is partying again. And right at this moment, a social worker with Kia comes to visit her! Kia becomes so upset that she goes to court to get a restraining order against her own mother. In court, Amy is so angry and frustrated that she asks for one against Kia, but the judge points out that one restraining order is enough. Amy’s world goes dark again as she loses some key things she had gained, including her nice apartment. But when Amy winds up in jail again, and in chains, she cries out to the Lord for his help. What happens after this is nothing short of amazing with Chief coming back into her life and people from a local church showing an interest in her.
Amy also struggles with thoughts of suicide in one scene, but this movie does a good job in showing that there are always alternative choices and God is just a prayer away.
Due to the use of some language, and thematic themes of drug dependency and turmoil in family relationships, we are awarding our Dove seal for Ages 12+ to the film. Its story of forgiveness and the hope in Christ to transform lives is powerful.
The Dove Take:
Utilizing good performances, a good story, and the symbolism of being bound and then broken from chains, this movie is a powerful film to watch.