Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Precious (2009)

Precious was probably one of the most surprising and most disturbing movies that I have seen this year.

Starring Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe as Precious, this movie descends into a world that few of us have ever seen.

Precious lives in the Ghetto of New York, the illegitimate first daughter of a mother who has enslaved her and her offspring in return for welfare checks.

Precious is beaten and abused by her mother Mary--portrayed by Mo'Nique--who then allows her boyfriend to repeatedly rape Precious. By the age of 16, Precious is pregnant again with her second child.

The movie is horrific. The scenes between Precious and Mary are so full of tension, I was literally bracing myself for the next blow. I understood why people kill one another. The rage hung in the air like huge sides of beef waiting to be slaughtered.

But intermixed with these terrible, sad scenes were scenes full of joy and laughter: girls giggling over boys, a baby's new eyes, a young girl's dreams of love and fame.

There were some stand-out performances in this movie, especially among the Precious' classmates. Mo'Nique, as Mary, was hands down brilliant: I hated her, was repulsed by her and lost all sense of compassion for her. Gabby Sidiby, in her very first film ever, was astonishing in playing the role with such mulish, hulking determination. Mariah Carey, as Precious' social worker, gave a steady performance but sometimes looked a bit bemused to be on film.

The direction was extremely well done; the tone was never so unbearable that I could not take watching it. The movie covers a terrible subject but Lee Daniels did a good job of maintaining an even stream of emotions, handling the movie's emotions like a sailboat across a stormy sea.

I walked away from this movie thankful that I had seen a part of America I would never have witnessed before but should have known a long time ago.

For all those young, hopeless women out there: May you find love.

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