Posts Tagged ‘Precious’

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

January 11th, 2010
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Rating: ★★★★½

Movie: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire(2009)

Studio : Lee Daniels Entertainment

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 110 min

Website : Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Trailer :


Precious is everything you would not expect from a typical blockbuster. It’s low budget, it features actors and actresses that are not likely to be confused with models (granted, there is Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz in it, but with minute roles), and it involves a tale that is incredibly depressing. The film is an underdog in all respects, and I can’t help but laud Daniels and the people who took part in this film for undertaking something like this when feel-good blockbusters are what most audiences seek.

Precious is the name of a young obese African American girl living in the inner city. Her welfare-dependent mother hates her and treats her like a slave, her father raped her on a regular basis and abandoned them, and she is undervalued at school despite being above average in certain studies. To escape the pain of her life, she fantasizes about what she hopes to be: a diva, with a light-skinned boyfriend, a stark contrast from a bitter reality that refuses to acknowledge her. Our story begins when she is offered the chance at an alternate education school, and we see the many things she must push just to find her recognition.

What makes Precious shine is its ugliness. Shots of lard-fried misshapen lumps of meat, underlit corridors, grotesque features of people you would likely see on the street of any major city: Precious’ world is as much our own, and she shows us its worst. Likewise, the acting polishes this film off: from Mo’Nique’s bitterness to Paula Patton’s initially standoffish but caring demeanor as Precious’ teacher. Even Mariah Carey’s role as a social worker seem remarkably believable, as her diffident but empathetic aspects emphasize she is very much real. It is all these trials steeped in reality that allow Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) to appear that much more triumphant in the end.

There are two particular flaws I found in this movie and that is that it feels incomplete, not so much in the ending, but in the way things feel edited out. While I imagine this film suffered the same problem any novel-converted-movie should encounter, it could have used those extra tidbits to let us delve further into her life. The other rests in how subjective this film can be. Granted, this is a tale told from the protagonist, but for a film that seeks to be so realistic it feels awkward to have the villain bear almost no redeeming qualities while even Gabourey’s role seems a little too exceptional at times.

Precious reminds us of what makes life so valuable, and to be grateful for what we have. As we all live trying to stave off the effects of a recession-starved world economy, it’s films like these that seem that much more appropriate for people to see than it suggests. After seeing it, it will make you put that much more to heed in this film’s headline: “We are all Precious”.

-Donald Lee