Precious

2010-03-05 08:46
 
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

What it's about:

Set in 1987 Harlem, it tells the story of 16-year old African-American girl Claireece "Precious" Jones who, abused by her sadist mother and impregnated for the second time by her absent father, refuses to accept the cards life have dealt her. Illiterate, obese and kicked out of school, Precious finds herself in an “alternative” school facing countless obstacles, which includes learning her positive HIV status, on her journey to overcome her grueling circumstances.

What we thought:

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Ramona Lofton’s pseudonym, Precious seems to be at first glance just another deep, emotional movie based on yet another novel portraying suffering and abuse, which is nothing new, because it's the type of movie we see all the time. And you would think, like me, that you have become numb, that you'd feel nothing, but Precious offers an experience that transcends the misery it portrays.

Director Lee Daniels, known for producing Monster’s Ball and Shadowboxer together with screenwriter Geoffrey S. Fletcher manages to capture the very core of our humanity. The cluttered, poverty-stricken Harlem apartment Precious shares with her abusive mother ignites an uncomfortable edginess. The constant frying and eating of greasy food, the constant sitting around, doing nothing, sweating and smoking, the constant sound of brainless American game show television, and even the wallpaper, contribute to the anticipation of the unpredictable and the appalling. The growing sense of dread felt very reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye.

The debut performance by 26-year-old Gabourney Sidibe as Precious leaves you in awe. And this is not due to her physical embodiment of the role, but because she makes us believe her reality. With the help of her director, memorable, witty, yet sad moments are created through the imagination of Precious. Every moment of abuse which Precious endures, is transformed into flashes between her reality and her imagined world, in which she is the star. When her father rapes her, her mother force feeds her bullies attack her, she simply escapes to her fantasy world and we are taken along. In this world, Precious is desired and loved by all; a movie star walking down the red carpet, a diva on stage, even a beautiful, thin blonde woman when she looks in the mirror. Who hasn’t imagined themselves as someone more beautiful, glamorous and thin? For Precious, these ideals aren't pure delusion, they're a survival mechanism in a world out to destroy her soul.

Being pregnant and getting suspended from school infuriates her mother Mary, played by stand-up comedian Mo’Nique, who convincingly plays the part of the scary, sociopathic, abusive mother. Pretending to go to school for the sake of her mother’s welfare cheque, Precious secretly goes to an "alternative" school, Each One Teach One, where she finds kinship with teacher Miss Blu Rain, played by Paula Patton.

Precious also shares her tragic story for the first time with social worker Miss Weiss (an unrecognisable Mariah Carey, who gives a surprisingly touching performance in this unglamorous role). Through Miss Weiss we learn why Mary allowed her husband to abuse Precious, and we see a human side to Mo’Nique’s character in a memorable scene between Gabourney, Mariah and Mo’Nique.  

So, is Precious worthy of its six Oscar nominations? I would definitely say yes and I would even go so far as predicting a definite win for Mo'Nique. Is it worth watching in the cinema? It's a tough story to bear witness to but worth the journey, so be prepared for a brutal awakening to human suffering and compassion, and remember to bring the tissues!


Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious.

Moviecrazy 2010/03/05 3:31 PM
Great review, will make sure I don't miss this one.
2010 2010/03/06 4:09 PM
Watched it for the THIRD time today. Each, and everyone of us should be able to connect with this film in one way or another. What a peformamce
Belkey 2010/03/09 12:36 PM
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I watched this movie with my wife and we both felt dirty and disgusted in the end. It's extremely sad to know that these things really happen out there. I think Oprah was extremely brave to choose to produce such a movie as it is not a nice story to tell, but I guess she could relate to it as she was also abused. As far as the acting, Mo'Nique is a definite standout. It's not easy for a comedian to play a serious role, but she made it work. Movie all in all was okay, disappointing ending.
jade 2010/03/09 1:41 PM
Thanks for the review, Please don't give too much away - like the fact that she later discovers that she is HIV+. This revelation and its timing has a powerful effect in the movie, and the effect is spoilt for people that haven't watched it if too much is given away in the review.
Thando 2010/03/09 3:54 PM
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I watch this movie, great porfomance especially monigue, very sad indeed but thinking that this is not just a movie and real life its heart breaking. Why cant our mothers protect us? I was sexually abused by family members, when my mother found out she hit me until I messed myself. She said I was out of control for even talking about that. When I was 13 she performed "virginity testing' on me. she asked me who I slept with i expalined to her I was being raped by my uncle still i was asaulted and spend three days indoors because i was injured with blue eyes. Even my own father attempted to rape me but i was full of anger and told him I will cut off his manhood if he dared touch me, I was only 14. My sister was also raped by the same uncle who raped me. I got him arrested but my mother arranged for the case to be dropped. I was pregnant and tired of fighting I just let it go, I am full of anger and paranoid, i have a seven years old boy and I dont trust anyone with him even his own father. I feel precious, mothers can you please protect us your kids, why would you keep quite knowing your man is raping your child and still sleep with him?
rozita 2010/03/17 1:47 PM
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i will wartch this movie ten times that how much it touches me
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