Saturday, December 5, 2009

Precious. A-

Claireece 'Precious' Jones is overweight, reserved, illiterate, pregnant with her second child, and sixteen years old. She has a monster of a mother, a woman who is so vituperative and cruel she's barely human. That's the context behind Lee Daniels wrenching, provocative, powerful new movie that has become a bit of a sleeper hit of 2009. The two characters to study are Precious (played by Gabourey Sidibe) and her mother (Mo'Nique). Precious is an example of a good person whose family life has torn her apart. Her mother does nothing but sit around watching TV, demanding chores of her daughter, and yelling at her to satisfy her own frustrating life. Precious accepts this all and bears her suffering valiantly. Yet we know the conflict between her and her mother is going to be resolved somehow. When we meet Precious her life is actually on the verge of getting a whole lot better. She gets kicked out of school, but then is sent to an alternative school taught by the caring and thoughtful Miss Rain (Paula Patton). Here she realizes that there is a purpose to her life and that she can get back on the right track. She also receives help from Mrs. Weiss, a social worker played with surprising care and sensitivity by Mariah Carey. 'Precious' is a tough movie that asks a lot of the viewer. But it also offers a great payoff when it's over by giving us an accurate depiction of a brutal life while being uplifting, yet never too obvious or melodramatic. It's a great of achievement of acting, writing (it's based off the book 'Push' by Sapphire) and directing, an aching yet wonderful movie.

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