Monday, November 30, 2009

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Movie name: Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Year of release: 2009
Director: Lee Daniels
Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz, Stephanie Andujar, Chyna Layne
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Synopsis:Lee Daniels' second film "Precious" has already won a few awards (namely at the Sundance Film Festival) and the accolades have been plenty. The film follows the story of 16 year old Precious, who is pregnant with her second child after being abused (again) by her own father. Her mother Mary is brutal in her treatment towards Precious, more interested in the welfare check than in the safety of her daughter (or grandchildren for that matter). Precious is forced to go to a special education facility upon the discovery of her pregnancy, where she meets Ms. Rain, a kind hearted and headstrong teacher, who is at the institute to help "problematic" teenagers achieve their GED. There Precious is encouraged to fight for her education and ultimately her happiness. Lee Daniels adapting the story of a battered and abused teenager, oscillates between moments of sheer terror and others where the taste is borderline there. Precious has moments of fantasy when confronted with horror - this however, unbalances the film more than it should. The director goes from a grim, dramatic and grey reality to moments of hyper saturated color and glossiness - Precious' dreams/fantasy world. However what should function as an escape, feels dubious in taste and takes away the impact of the dramatic situation taking place. The acting is also a bit uneven - if Gabourey Sidibe has a good performance, playing the troubled Precious, Mo'nique is more uneven. Her character is a monster of epic proportions and Mo'nique rises to the challenge, but her fluctuations make the character seem more mentally unstable at points than just plain vile. Paula Patton ends up creating a more restrained character, without sentimentality, anchored in reality, as does Mariah Carey playing a social worker. A film to be seen, even if flawed.