Monday, November 30, 2009

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire was released in Canada on September 13, 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival. The star power in this one is mediocre. The lead is played by Gabourey Sidibe in her debut. The BET favorite, Mo'Nique is the horror of a mother. Mariah Carey stops by as the relatively homely social worker, and Lenny Kravitz has a minor role. The Director is Lee Daniels, best known for producing Monster's Ball. Of course, one should not neglect the marketing efforts of Oprah Winfrey.

The story is just potent. As a social worker, I confess I had little desire to see another movie that was looking just a little too much like work. Honestly, anyone with a few years in my field has met more than one Precious. I also tend to be a touch skeptical about Oprah's pet projects. That said, I was completely enthralled through the entire 109 minutes, and was a little sorry to see it end. The protagonist is an obese 16 year old victim of every abuse imaginable. She is pregnant with a second child for her father when we meet her. Despite the hell that is her life there is something hopeful, and both passive and determined within her. For the viewer who has not yet met a Precious, the story is shocking, and even if you have, it still has the potential to bring you tears before all is said and done. It is also laced with humor, and of course, challenges one's own worldview. This fictional biography is very well told, and true enough to life to be given an address closer to your own.

This film has Oscar written allllllll over it. First of all, the fact that the movie title references the book from which it originated is practically an application for adapted screenplay. A nomination in this category is likely. Directorship may also get some consideration based on the quality offered at a very low cost. Of course, the acting is brilliant. Sidibe deserves a nomination for a simply wonderful performance. Her inexperience makes this showing even more impressive. Mo'Nique was also very good, and a nod for supporting is also in order. It may have had a shot for Best Picture in a category of five, but with the extension to ten, it will be surprising if this movie is not at least rewarded with a nomination. This may also open the door for a Best Director nomination for Daniels.

Precious is a very pleasant surprise. Good call on this one O.

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