Saturday, 30 January 2010

Precious - Review

There is people in this world who tend to argue, we live in a society bereft of shock. The same arguably applies to watching films. For all the gore, the sex, the foul language, we have all became completely desensitized to such acts that it has now become second nature. For the most part I would even agree with this argument, however people who preach this conclusion should maybe watch Lee Daniels' (of Monster's Ball fame) latest offering: Precious.

The story, based on the 1996 novel by Sapphire entitled Push, is centred around obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old Claireece Precious Jones (referred to by her middle name) living in the New York City neighbourhood of Harlem. She has been impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers long term physical, mental and sexual abuse from her unemployed mother. Heavy stuff you say? You have no idea...

Within the opening 10 minutes I was actually shocked and appalled at the level of abuse this poor girl faced, it was so visceral and intense you almost forgot you were watching a film which involved people acting. Totally captivating. The debut performance of Gabourey Sidibe was an utter joy to behold, she clearly poured her heart and soul into this performance and the same can also be said for Mo'Nique as Precious' horrible, bitter, twisted mother Mary. Her character was what drove the film's harsher moments into the realms of nightmares.

The film thankfully was not entirely set in a pit of despair, as the support characters in Precious' life gave her some uplifting moments of hope and teased at the idea there might even be some heavenly light at the end of the tunnel. It was a surreal experience sitting through a film with Mariah Carey in it with zero makeup trying to act, what was perhaps even more surreal was the fact I actually thought she was very good.

Despite the amazing performances, the film's production values were a rather unbalanced. Though I can see the purpose for the dream-like sequences in the backdrop of Precious' personal anguish, the sequences themselves looked cheap and too 'MTV' in comparison to the harsh gritty reality the poor girl actually faced. It wasn't quite as silly as Antichrist but compared to the horrifying scenes between Precious and her mother I was maybe expecting a bit more.

Final Thoughts
It will leave you numb. Precious is a film like no other you will see this month, it will slap you in the face and demand you take notice. It is a bit like watching a train crash, utterly horrifying and unrelenting in human pain and suffering, but you are completely compelled to watch on and see what happens next. Precious is a film everyone needs to watch and could even be hailed as one of the best dramas in years, however you would have to be a brave person to watch it more than once. I need a stiff drink...


See this if you liked...
Monster's Ball, The Wrestler, The Colour Purple

Precious is on release in limited cinemas across now. Or at least it should be...

This has possibly been one of the best months for films I've had since starting this blog. Hopefully the rest of 2010 can follow by the same example!

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