Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Precious: Based On The Novel "Push" By Sapphire (2012)

Not the most motivational of movie stills, I reckon.
At a glance:
I had just seen Gabourey Sidibe's brief role in Seven Psychopaths (2012) and I thought I'd rehash this old review, on account of renewin my seethin dislike for the movie upon the very sight of her. Precious: Based On The Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (2009) is quite a mouthful for a movie title, so it's a small relief that this decorated Oscar fave does have somethin substantial to say. However, like the makers conceded and thanked production ally Oprah Winfrey at the 2009 Awards ("because you touched it, so everyone saw it"), we really have to wonder if this greatly divisive film isn't just another well-marketed product of white guilt internalisation.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Paula Patton lends her well-to-do looks for contrast.
Yes, the artistic merit of this drama does come into question, as the eponymous main character Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an overweight, illiterate, impoverished and abused teenager who just happens to be surrounded by some of the nastiest people and also go through some of the worst experiences one possibly can growing up in black Harlem. It's the kind of character arc that invites empathy at first but then descends into a credibility problem. Not that we're contendin the nature of a grossly underprivileged life in the late 80s, but there is a difference between tellin a story about the black underclass and tellin a story about how the black underclass view themselves. This Lee Daniels picture is a clear case of the latter but instead of offerin any insight into the psyche of any one person who comes from such a background, it is evident by the final reels that Precious is an unreflective sob story that strives for some redeeming value that it cannot attain.
Perennial wonderment:
Mo'Nique, the monster of a mum. Figuratively and physically.
For a movie that has been called "con job of the year" to one that goes to the extent of "demeaning the idea of black American life", emotions run strong, especially since we can't call the filmmakers racist because they're black. Perhaps it's an instance of reverse racism that the horrendous story of Precious becomes such a celebrated film that has picked up close to 100 awards across film festivals and such. In any case, there is no denying that Mo'Nique's performance as an criminally-abusive mother is a powerful turn that deserves every award it gets, includin the most prized one - Best Supporting at the 82nd Academy Awards. The movie as whole features some compelling actin (Gabriel Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd and even Mariah Carey), and that lends urgency and strength to the proceedings whatever you might feel about the story.
Reminds me of:
Don't know. Can't relate to much in this movie.
I can't remember if I cried:
When I saw the frazzled Mariah Carey role. It's a suitable role for her, admittedly. It's just that this isn't the woman I remember from the Christmas music videos and that depresses me, as if the story isn't movin along bad enough.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Emotionally manipulative in a way I don't care for. As a movie experience, you will have to watch Precious - but only if you want to discuss it with your friends, and not because you look forward to enjoying it. ★★