Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” by Sapphire

BBB

(out of 5)


Life is a relentless war zone for Claireece “Precious” Jones (), a teenaged girl in 1987 Harlem who is pregnant for the second time with her father’s child. She likes school but is too introverted to contribute, while at home her criminally abusive mother () hurls insults at her in between bouts of physical violence that this young woman is powerless to prevent. Opportunity falls into her lap when she is offered the choice of going to an alternative school, one that will help get her reading and writing skills on par with her apparently impressive mathematics skills, and she takes the chance despite the fact that it only makes her mother more aggressive. While there, Precious inspires the affection of her teacher (), who steps in to help this magnificently beaten-down girl realize her potential. Bleak, powerful and sometimes very moving, this drama would be so much better if it didn’t have such a manipulative director at its helm; it’s a brilliant film hiding behind a cheesy one, full of emotional signposts that are completely unnecessary. Showing Precious’ fantasies of being a BET superstar complete with light-skinned boyfriend and glamorous clothing is a classic example of overkill in the story of a girl who is being sexually abused by her parents and having crockery whipped at her head on a regular basis; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she wishes she was somewhere else most of the time. When director Lee Daniels isn’t getting in the way of the experience, the few times this happens, magical things occur, and they usually involve Mo’Nique. Her closing scene, where she delivers a heartfelt monologue in which her selfishness erupts in a monstrous yet strangely human manner, is enough to justify sitting through the awkward montage sequences and poor soundtrack choices. Shockingly enough, is riveting in her two scenes as Precious’ social worker, and her reactions to Mo’nique at the film’s close are powerful in themselves.


Lionsgate, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Smokewood Entertainment Group

USA, 2009

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel Push by

Cinematography by

Produced by Lee Daniels, , ,

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 2009

Golden Globe Awards 2009

Independent Spirit Awards 2009.  

Toronto International Film Festival 1999

 

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