Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Thats real "Precious" - a review

Posted by Simone Says



In a nutshell that is "Precious". I honestly haven't read the book, "Push". It is written as if Precious herself had written each page. Precious is illiterate. I just couldn't get through the intentional spelling and grammar mistakes. I'll get back to it one day.

"Precious" as a movie was less dramatic then I thought it would be actually, but more dramatic then some audiences played it off to be. It tells the story of a young teen who is sexually abused by her father, faces verbal and physical abuse by her mother, dark skinned, and overweight. This is how she's described. To escape the pain she faces she daydreams in the tough moments. She fantasizes about being a white woman with long hair and a Latino boyfriend. She has to learn to find her support from people who are not her parents or her mean peers.

Precious lives a horrible life. How can parents be so selfish and cruel? After I saw the film I spent minutes thinking about how great my mother, grandmother, aunts, and uncles had been in my life. School can be hard for any kid, but home should be a sanctuary. Maybe you can relate to Precious on small levels. While Precious is obese it's safe to assume that she hears teasing that other heavy set kids hear.

No one comments on her skin color. That would be great if the movie itself didn't comment on skin color. Without saying too much I can say that everyone who is most loving towards her is light skinned. Several are even played by biracial actors. Light skin compared to dark skin is an issue for different ethnicities and nationalities. Speaking for America it is definitely and issue. Proof? Name 3 popular dark skinned Black American female singers. Name one. Then consider those magazines that airbrush "black" noses and lighten complexions. No wonder Precious wanted to be white. Still, why did her "heroes" have to be light skin or have white ethnic backgrounds? Before the film was released my mother said it was very unlikely for a teacher to be that complexion with that hair as a teacher in Harlem in the 1980's. The teacher is played by Paula Patton. Does light still equal pure and innocent? Even her oldest child (she has one child and is pregnant with another) is a light skinned girl not reflecting Precious or her father/who is also her grandfather.. (see ..sad film).

Another issue with "Precious" is the lasting message. It gives the audience this sense of "well my life could always be worse..I could be like Precious". I find that weird. Precious is less like a human with this view and more of a statue of "what's the worst that could happen". She's like a myth. Incest,illiteracy,obesity, several types of abuse, living in poverty, with a daughter that has down syndrome and another child on the way. What?! Is this real? Is she real? Yes, these are real issues. Must one character face them all at once? The crazy thing is I left a few things out. It gets WORSE.

Back to my first paragraph. When I said it was less dramatic then I thought I meant that I thought I wouldn't be able to sit through it without my hands tearing at my heart trying to give it to this girl. I didn't cry all throughout the film, but I did cry. I thought it'd be a lot harder to take. There was humor. Her classmates are comic relief. Her fantasies interrupt horrid scenes and introduce vivid color and comedy. The film itself is cinematically pleasing. It's gritty. It's 80's. It's authentic. Maybe it's just too real overall? That has to be why some people laughed as Precious fought her mother played by comedian Mo'Nique in a tour-de-force role that's sure to turn into Academy Award least Golden Globe. People laughed at inappropriate moments a few times. Sometimes it was a funny scene, but it followed a hard scene and I thought people would still be too into the sadness to laugh, but nope. It's amazing how we flinch when we see Mo'Nique's character throw something at her daughter, but laugh when Precious hits a classmate. Society now is almost so immune to certain acts of violence that without lots of context completely saturated in a dramatic scene we laugh if someone is violently shoved if they "fall funny". Perhaps some people are so used to the abuse they witnessed or went through they laughed as they have learned to do to deal with their own pain. Who knows?

You don't walk out of "Precious" laughing. You don't walk out feeling motivated or inspired unless you're an artist hoping to give or provide similarly amazing performances. The movie spends so much time illustrating what is wrong with Precious and not enough time showcasing her development of skills needed for her future. If you've seen the film then maybe you can tell me if there was any real closure. "The Color Purple" was harsh, but in the end not only was Celie free, but she also gained money and had a fun little affair with Shug Avery. Ok, ignore the last part. In the end "Precious" is worth the price of admission. How can we expect a perfect movie from an imperfect tale? Some won't see this film and turn "precious" into a derogatory term. Don't be that guy. Be the person who does learn to appreciate your life a little more, and make life a little easier for the next Precious. Precious girls needs happy endings.


Anonymous said...

Hi Simone,

Your thoughts regarding prescious are very valid.

In tying to pose a possible answer to your question of why some parents can be wicked to their children will always remain a mystery as there could be so many factors as to why this happens.

One thought is do the parents view their interaction with their children as cruel as like in most cases, this is learnt behaviour as they (the parents) experienced this as they grew up and therefore either normalise it or justify their cruelty by saying "It didn't do me no harm when I was wooped" etc.

Also some liberal thinking people may leave their children to their own vices as they feel that children shouldn't be punished etc..This in turn could also be deemed as non caring as children want parents in most cases and not a parent acting as a friend.

Please believe me when I say that I am not justifying or condoning their cruel abusive behaviour, as like you I had a blessed childhood and as a result I am having a blessed life.

Also you made the point that the audience laughed at inappropriate times, I wonder if this was as a result of feeling nervous about the scene...

I suppose like you, I have to see the film. Most certainly your comments have stirred up more curiousity to see this film.

Last food for thought, why is the promotion more focused around Miriah Carey's part, instead of the part of the young actress who plays Prescious?

Aisha said...

I finally saw the movie precious. It was a horrific tale. You are right about the lack of closure. We are all left wondering "What happened to Precious"? We will just have to create an ending. She may be dead ... that's my guess.