“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” Movie Review

"Precious" film poster“Precious” is fortunately not based on a true story, it’s based on a novel. Unfortunately, the novel was written with the mind-state of compiling many awful tales of life in the Bronx and Harlem while working as a literacy teacher. The film centers around a young black woman named Precious (played by Gabourey Sidibe) as she deals with her second pregnancy, which came about from her father raping her. We follow her as she deals with alternative school and a wretched home life. Ah yes, the setting of great drama.

Why you’ll like it:
You’ll be more grateful for what you have, regardless of how little it is.
It’s also gratifying to see someone deal with so much and remain human.

The story is very unique, I can’t recall many films that take the dips and dives as “Precious” courageously takes. After a while one may start to assume that it’s all one big emotional ploy to tinker with you, but that was not my impression. The characters felt too true and real, from the escapism Precious uses to keep herself intact, to the voracious appetite for bitter hatred her mother (Mo’Nique”) has, it’s all incredibly well portrayed and is used to paint a horrid picture but seemingly only for the sake of giving someone a voice who previously had none.

The direction was also exceptional, the camera work and gritty texture of the film brought it completely to life and lent a lot of credibility to the situations and setting. The entire movie had this dinginess covering everything, almost as if the camera itself was affected by the harsh life Precious was living.

Sidibe was nominated for an Oscar, and I must say that it was well deserved. However, I think my ace performance has to go to Mo’Nique, she was horrifying to watch and I can think of few people who gave so much depth and realness to such a wretched person. The best word to sum up her role is simply “wow”, because she was so layered and every awful moment ends up making perfect sense, detestably so. Bravo to her and to Mariah Carey (playing the social worker) who felt a little too real.

Why you won’t like it:
Good Lord how much crap can you heap onto a single soul.

As far as the emotional trip through hell, I guess it was lucky for me that last night I watched a film that brought fewer brutalities to a far more intense and sickening level that this movie didn’t quite match it note for note. That isn’t to say that this is any walk through the park, but it does manage to walk the fine line of being over the top with the hardships without making it flimsy in nature. A great commentary about hard living while maintaining hope, and a well made and deserving film.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey
Director: Lee Daniels
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: November 20, 2009