Monday, November 23, 2009

Heartbreaking "Precious"

Precious is a gut-wrenching film - the kind that leaves you feeling dazed as you leave the theater. The movie is based on the novel Push by Sapphire. There are many scenes that are hard to listen to and difficult to watch. The Lee Daniels-directed film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

Talented new-comer Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe plays Precious Jones, an obese, poor, illiterate and abused teen. It's the late 1980s in Harlem, and Precious has already had one child, and is pregnant again at only 16-years-old. The most horrifying part is that her abusive father is the dad of her children. Her lazy, despicable mother (Mo'Nique) is also physically and verbally abusive.

Precious feels hopeless until she enrolls in an alternative school taught by Ms. Rain (Paula Patton). In one touching scene, Ms. Rain asks Precious to tell the class about herself. She replies that she's never talked in class before, and it makes her feel "here." At the school, she begins to learn - starting with her ABCs until she's able to read. She most enjoys writing in her journal.

Eventually Precious is able to pull herself out of the abyss though it's not without obstacles and heartbreak. Sidibe and Mo'Nique both deserve Oscar nods for their fine performances. Singers Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey proved they have some acting chops too. Kravitz plays the kind Nurse John, and an almost-unrecognizable Carey is the compassionate social worker Mrs. Weiss.

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