Saturday, April 24, 2010

PRECIOUS (Based on the novel Push by Sapphire)...

Oscar's Challenge Movie Review: Precious

imdb summary: In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels

Screenplay by: Geoffrey Fletcher

Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language.

Oscar nominations(*wins): Mo’Nique for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role*, Geoffrey Fletcher for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published*, Lee Daniels for Best Achievement in Directing, Joe Klotz for Best Achievement in Editing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Gabourey Sidibe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

This movie has a gritty feel to it. It’s a ‘holds no bars’ movie and there is nothing soft or polished about it. The lighting, harsh. The vernacular, harsh. The editing, harsh. Every single aspect of this movie makes you uncomfortable. And that’s what makes it so amazing. With movies like this you, you can’t beat around the bush or take a soft approach. If you want to convey realism to the viewer, you have to throw punches constantly, and between the thrown objects, physical beat downs, and the cutting words, you don’t have time to breathe.

Mo’Nique was amazing and deserved all the awards (nearly 30 individually for her role as Mary) she has won this past awards season. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe was just as impressive. Her role was convincing and she seemed to be the perfect person to play Precious. However, as a side note, I wonder if she will really be able to continue on the acting career path. Sure, this role was perfect for her and she transformed flawlessly, but the blunt truth is, there aren’t many roles for larger sized black women, no matter how strong, talented, or likable they are. Maybe she could play a couple guest starring roles on crime dramas or other television shows, but I don’t predict many more movies in her future. I’m not saying it should be this way, but it IS this way. I hope, hope, hope that the film industry could prove me wrong.

This movie isn’t for those who are close minded. You have to have an open mind watching this movie and go in willing to accept the truths you are being told. Not many of us live the life that the people in this movie live, and not many of us will ever understand on a first-hand experience level, what they are going through. But to watch and absorb and accept is to get the movie. Because even if you have never lived the abuse, you can relate to the pain and the hope. And that’s what this movie accomplishes.

I have to admit, if it wasn’t for the slight hope you feel at the end of the movie, and if it wasn’t for Paula Patton as Ms. Rain, there would be no sunshine to this dark movie, and it would be a total bust. I found myself relishing the moments when Ms. Rain was in the scene because it provided some levity to the heaviness of the movie. This, undoubtedly, is an achievement on the part of Director Lee Daniels-he makes the viewer feel as Precious feels. However, another pitfall, or possibly it’s just my personal preference against it, was the moments in which Precious had these fantasies about her life turning into something better and bigger. These scenes, Precious as a movie star, Precious in a music video, had clear intent-Precious wants more for herself. But the placement of the scenes was awkward and didn’t flow with the emotional current of the movie as a whole.

The novel in which this movie is based is called “Push”. I haven’t read it but have heard that it is a very good book. And, as I believe that you have to read the book if you’ve seen the movie, I intend to read it sometime or another.

Overall, I give this movie four umbrellas.
It was real, it was honest, and it was dark, but it lacked the continuity the viewer needs to feel in order to completely dissolve out of the real world and into Precious’s world.

[If you liked this movie you may like:
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints with Shia Labeouf and Robert Downey Jr.]


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