Below is a video review of Precious with myself (Angela) and Shannon from FrothyGirlz.com After that is a print review just from Angela, enjoy.
Precious is an empowering, yet brutal film to sit through. It is not a movie I would recommend, but one that I think everyone should view at least once. Precious is based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. Director Lee Daniels (Shadowboxer) held our eyelids open to the truth of young women and the tribulations they can face. “Push” is a composite of the devalued lives of young women and shows the power in education and literacy.
Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe) is a sixteen year old African American girl living in Harlem, currently pregnant with her second child and living with her absolutely evil mother (Mo’Nique). She is illiterate, uneducated and with out any real future to look to. She is verbally and physically abused by her mother daily, sexually abused by her father regularly and all but ignored by her grandmother.
When it comes to the principal’s attention that Precious is pregnant again, she sends her to an alternative school where she will find a better education and people who care and can actually help her. Don’t get the idea that this is a happy story by any means. I found my jaw on the floor several times during this film set in 1987.
Even though I was floored by the actions I witnessed, it was everyday hum drum for Precious and she had learned the great tool of escapism. Every time we saw a disturbing act being performed, Precious retreated into her own head where she imagined herself as a famous, glamorous movie star where all the lights were on her and her fabulous gown and everyone in the world absolutely loved her! Which was the exact opposite of her current life. It was a nice escape for me as well. If I didn’t have a few breathers in there, I might have broken down.
Ninety percent of the film is filled with darkness and despair and it seemed like each time things started looking up for Precious, her life would plummet to even darker passages. A good portion of the film is set up to let you live her life and feel powerless with her as she is raped by her father and forced to wait on her mother hand and foot each day after school until she goes to bed. Even school is no escape for us, as she has good grades on paper but the truth is she can not read or write.
When she starts attending the alternative school, she doesn’t know what that means but the environment feels inviting with the bright lights and smiling faces. Here, she begins to write and learns to read and starts learning all of the things that her previous schools have not been able to pass along. The more she learns, the more confident she becomes and enlightened by her new love of knowledge decides to stand up for herself and her children.
This was Gabourey Sidibe’s first role and I am not ashamed to say that she may be nominated for an Oscar for this role. The pain she must have gone through just having to portray Precious must have been tough. But to stay tough through everything this girl goes through and the emotions casts with her eyes was what made this so real.
Also shockingly great in her role was Mo’Nique as the wicked mother from Hell. The strength it must have taken to say some the things she said and do most of the things she did leaves me looking at her in a new light now. I am not shy to say Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress for her as well. Her performance chilled me to the core. Director Lee Daniels also stripped any color and life from most of the characters to give the story a very stark, dull look including Mo’Nique making them very drab and lifeless with messy hair, un-waxed upper lips and oily skin all the time.
Some surprising stars in this are Mariah Carey as the Welfare worker that Precious sees. She played the character well and also with no makeup. Another shocker is Lenny Kravitz making an appearance as the male nurse that cares for Precious and I honestly couldn’t tell it was him until the credits rolled. I just don’t recognize him with out the big sunglasses.
This film has a lot to offer to anyone with an open mind to see it. It is uplifting while still remaining quite depressing. No one person could ever suffer as much as she does in this story. There are lessons to be learned and hopefully this will help some young women out there that may be in a similar situation.
I give Precious 4 “NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!”out of 5.
by Angela Davis