Tuesday, January 5, 2010

MOVIE - Precious

Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Powerful. Great acting. Tough to watch.
Limited release 11-6-09
R (1:49)
1/5/10 at El Con with Kate & Julia
RT: 92% cag: 94%
Fandango: 79/100
Director: Lee Daniels

Whew. This was a tough one to watch.

When I was at a Lucy Calkins Workshop at Columbia University about ten years ago, this book was recommended to me by some NYC teachers. I bought it and read it then and there. I've read a few books since then, so I only remember the hazy storyline, but I was really looking forward to seeing how the story was put onto film.

This isn't the kind of movie that you could say you "enjoy." It's too sad, dark, infuriating. But it is magnificently presented. The acting is phenominal. Mo'nique, who played the protagonist's mother, was amazing. The young woman who played Claireece Precious Jones was really something. A makeup-less Mariah Carey and a caring Paula Patton, along with a wonderful cast of classmates AND Lenny Kravitz, well...... it was cast so well. The filming was interesting. As much as I got into the story, it was also interesting to watch where the camera went and how it got there. There were some really interesting scenes from Precious' imagination, the scenes she created in her mind to take her elsewhere. There were layers and layers of interesting technical additions. Fascinating.

The story. Precious has been abused her entire life. Abuse like most of us could never imagine. Mentally, physically, sexually. At sixteen she is pregnant with her second baby, and her own father is the culprit. She lives in almost-silence. She has never learned to read, although she understands and enjoys math. This story, set in the 1980's, begins when she is expelled from school because of her pregnancy. The principal follows up and gives Precious information about an alternative school. This decision, slowly but surely, changes her life. Watching this young woman learn, live....and love.....is an exhausting trip. I was drained at the end of the movie. There is a tiny bit of light at the end of the tunnel, I guess. Phew. After a little more reflection I'll have more to say.

Here's a link to a NY Times article about the movie. (Thanks, Julia)

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