Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

The title character in this film has lived her entire life under circumstances to which we cannot possibly relate, and we imagine that nobody reading this blog can relate to them either, and probably none or very few of this year's Oscar voters can relate either. She's sixteen years old, illiterate, lives in poverty, endures non-stop verbal and physical abuse from her mother, has given birth to a Down Syndrome baby, and, following another rape, is pregnant with her second child. And, oh yeah, the father of both her children is also her own father.

We don't think that Precious will win this year's Best Picture Oscar (the competition from Avatar is too stiff), but we do think that Mo'Nique stands a very good chance of winning in the Supporting Actress category. Whether Gabourey Sidibe will win for her starring role is in question, too; Sandra Bullock seems to be the critics' favorite in that category. Whatever the awards may be, each of these performances is masterfully done--and they're not the only ones. Even Mariah Carey gives a memorable effort here in the role of a welfare agent.

We expected Precious to be difficult to watch, and it was. But, thankfully, it is Precious herself who, through her cheery imagination, creates a happy if temporary respite from the real world, and the filmmakers allow us the same respite at critical points of horror. In this alternate reality, Precious is well off, attractive, has attractive boyfriends, and enjoys the 'good life' as she fancies it to be.

We don't want to reveal any of the movie's resolution, in case you might plan on seeing it. But it's worth mentioning that there is a hopeful (not happy, but hopeful) ending here. The last time we see Precious before we leave the theater, she's smiling both inside and out, being the best mother she can be, and bettering herself. She nervously but doggedly plans on contributing to society, rather than allowing it to destroy the life she has left to live. Maybe, we think, she'll soon join a church choir, just like she's always wanted to do.

We probably don't need to warn you, but you'll want to make sure that there are no children or cute, innocent pets in the room while you watch this one. We're almost thirty years old, but some of the abuse scenes that are presented here made us want to hide our eyes and hum a quiet, happy tune.

Brooke: A-
Grant: A-

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