In the days leading up to the Oscars, Sentimental Movie Marathon will take a look at each of the Best Picture Nominees. This is OSCAR BONANZA: TOO MUCH FILM IN YO’ FACE. For the fifth entry, let’s look at Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.
1. WHAT IS PRECIOUS: BAED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAPPHIRE?
The film (which I will refer to as Precious from here on out) tells the story of sixteen-year old Claireece Precious Jones. Precious has a traumatic relationship with her mother, an incestuous relationship forced on her by her father, and a mind that copes with her surroundings through fantasy and daydream. Precious also has one child and is pregnant with another from being abused. While her situation is bleak, she finds a modicum of hope in her new alternative school and a few kind souls she meets. Some of these kind souls are portrayed by pop stars and some are not.
Precious is also notable for having a bunch of celebrity producers who helped spread the film to a wide audience such as Star Trek‘s Tyler Perry and Oprah’s Oprah. If memory serves, Precious was also one of the first films this year to get serious Oscar buzz (BZZZZZZZZZ).
2. WHAT DOES PRECIOUS HAVE GOING FOR IT?
It is an incredible film. First, Gabourey Sidibe is wonderful as the lead. Mo’Nique handles the difficult role of the abusive mother really well. No matter how long an actor is on screen, they add to this emotionally sweeping and heartbreaking film. Some people may just remember Mariah Carey from this
and Glitter, but Carey proves herself a fine actor in Precious (In fact, by my count, Carey has been in more critically acclaimed films than Glitters [However, that’s like 2-1, small sample size and all]).
Precious takes risks (subject matter, intensity, rounding the characters out by not skimping on the unfavorable light) and such bravery pays off in creating an amazing film. Along with Up, this movie gets a share of the award in the category of Making John Cry. Watery eyes, big heart, Precious film!
3. WHAT COULD PUSH THE FILM PRECIOUS OUT OF WINNING?
Precious is a difficult film to watch at points. They film is open about its subject matter and sometimes portrays it in disturbing manners (which is appropriate). While not a wildly violent film, there were some sequences of violence that produced VERY loud gasps (especially given the small, quiet theater where I saw the film). From this difficult subject matter might follow an unwillingness to address or acknowledge the film in general.
Negative reviews of the film point to the film as shock without substance or condemn its portrayal of African-American characters. While both points do not seem to have much traction, it is worth noting that dissenting opinions about the film exist.
4. WILL I TOTALLY LOSE MY SHIT IF PRECIOUS WINS?
No, Precious would be a deserving winner. The film is not just a dark portrayal of the horrible experiences of a young woman, but it also touches on issues such as perception of reality, coping with reality, self-image, exploitations of social systems, and exploitations of family systems. At its core, Precious is a heartbreaking and courageous film.