Movie #294 Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire
(2009, US, d. Lee Daniels)
It’s sort of difficult to sit through a film that showcases rape, incest, and general hatred between kin. Such is the experience of watching Precious. Our main character is Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), an obese and illiterate 16-year raised in Harlem. Her mother literally hates everything about her. She physically tries to hurt her every day. Her father, an absentee, raped her and now left her pregnant with her kid/sibling. Her other sibling is mentally challenged. She has no friends. She doesn’t know how to read or write. She has no guidance. She steals. But what she does have is an interesting perspective on the world. Usually, I don’t like these movies. Sort of like “Christian-porn” movies that get really bad to demonstrate how good the love of God is, Precious sometimes comes really close to trying to get a feeling out of the audience. But the reason it works is because of the way director Lee Daniels infuses the story with life and also how much you know shit like this actually happens in real life. Featuring a solid performance by newcomer Sidibe, the real star of the film is her mother, played by Mo’Nique. Who knew that woman could act? Though the entire film features her as a cruel and sadistic mother, the last 10 minutes of the film will have you crying off of one of the most incredible monologues ever performed by an actress. Precious is a film that is not afraid to show reality, but in doing so, will alienate a large, mainstream crowd. It’s not a people-pleaser, nor is it an uplifting film. There is no great ending for her. It is real. It is honest. And what more can you ask for?