Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Goes Beyond Just Being Precious...Straight To Amazing

Lee Daniels’s Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire is a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome. Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She’s pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother (Mo’Nique), a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write. Precious may sometimes be down, but she is never out. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her.

Claireece "Precious" Jones (Sidibe) is a sixteen-year-old African-American who lives in Harlem in 1987. Although she is in the ninth-grade, she has not yet learned to read and write. This is no wonder given the ridicule she suffers from her peers who view her as a loser and a fat pig (they make oink noises when she walks by). Precious has one child by her father already: a daughter with Down Syndrome, who is looked after by her grandmother. After discovering that she is pregnant again, the principal of the school says that she must leave. Thankfully, Previous's math scores are exceptional and so she is assigned to an alternative school, Each One Teach One. There she is taken under the wings of Blu Rain (Paula Patton), who prepares troubled young women for the GEDs. She is a beautiful and charismatic mentor who inspires her students to express themselves in journals and to share the stories of their lives with each other. It is a perfect way for these girls to deal with the demons that have dragged them down. Precious is a survivor who has been severely abused physically and verbally by her horrific mother Mary (Mo' Nique), a lazy and angry woman who treats her daughter like a slave, denigrates her appearance and mental ability, forces her to eat more so that she becomes heavier, and blames her for stealing her husband's attention and sexual passion. The only way Precious can ward off the depression and emptiness of her daily life is by escaping into a fantasy world via her imagination. There she sees herself as a model, singing star, celebrity, or beautiful blonde. Precious is buoyed in her mind's eye by a fairy godmother (Susan B. Taylor) who bequeaths her with a beautiful orange scarf.

Precious is an emotionally poignant film directed by Lee Daniels and adapted from Push, a 1996 bestselling novel by Sapphire. This is a deeply spiritual film that conveys the many ways in which loving, kind, and compassionate people can be catalysts for real change in the lives of others. Blu Rain serves as a surrogate mother for Precious and offers her what she has never experienced before: someone who believes in her and nurtures her soul with love. Others who also offer lifelines are Nurse John (Lenny Kravitz), whose kindness surprises Precious, and Ms. Weiss (Mariah Carey), a welfare case worker whose professional detachment is shattered when she learns of the hellish dimensions of this degraded girl's home life. Precious is an inspirational film about one young woman's transformation thanks to the care and concern of those who take her into their hearts. Lee Daniels's Precious combines brutal domestic violence with be-all-you-can-be inspirationalism. Gabby Sidibe is remarkable as Precious, an obese black teenager in 1980s Harlem who is bullied at school, tormented by her mother and repeatedly raped by her stepfather. Precious maintains a stoic calm and dignity, taking comfort in poignant fantasies of a better life. This movie here is hands down, without a doubt in my mind THE BEST movie of the year and should not be missed. This gets a 5 on my "Go See" scale.

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