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Review: Precious

Precious
12.01.2009
9 10

PLOT: Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), an obese and illiterate black teenager, pregnant for the second time by her father, lives in inner city Harlem with her monstrous, abusive mother (Mo'nique). After being thrown out of high school, Precious is sent to an alternative school, where she connects with a young teacher named Blu (Paula Patton), who, along with burnt out social worker (Mariah Carey), and a kindly male nurse (Lenny Kravitz), encourage Precious to escape her cruel mother's clutches, and make something of her life.

REVIEW: Believe the hype, PRECIOUS is just as good as Oprah, and co., have been saying it is. Lee Daniels, who previously produced MONSTER'S BALL, THE WOODSMAN, and directed SHADOWBOXER, has made a brilliant, important film, that's totally deserving of all the Oscar buzz it's been receiving. But still, it's a film I hope I never have to sit through again...

I say this because PRECIOUS is such an unbearably sad, harrowing film, that you'll feel like throwing yourself into traffic after watching it. It's the anti-BLIND SIDE. It's one of those films that you'll be happy you've seen, but will likely never want to revisit in the future, despite it's undeniable power.

It should be noted however, that while PRECIOUS is difficult, unpleasant film, it's also a great one. Chief among it's virtues, are the impressive performances, from people you wouldn't necessarily expect much from in the way of acting. Mo'nique- who up until now has mostly been known as a comic, gives one of the performances of the year as Precious' unbelievably evil mother. Every time she appears onscreen you'll cringe, and hope for her comeuppance. Her performance is one of the most disturbing I've ever seen, as this is a true portrait of the the kind of evil that, sadly, is all too real.

Special note should also be made of pop superstars Mariah Carey, and Lenny Kravitz. This is Kravitz's debut as an actor, and he does some very solid work as the kind Nurse John, who becomes the first positive male presence Precious has ever had in her life, after years of being raped by her degenerate father, and teased by the many neighborhood bullies. As for Carey- wow! Anyone who's seen GLITTER can understand my reluctance to take Carey seriously as an actress, but she really disappears into her role. She sports an incredibly de-glamorized look, and down to earth manner, that really makes me reconsider my estimation of her as an actress. Now, it could be that Daniels is just one hell of a directors, and can coax an excellent performance out of anyone, but I was really taken aback by how naturalistic Carey is in the role. While it's probably to small a part to garner any awards, Carey truly has pulled off a remarkable performance that puts to shame anything attempted by any of her pop contemporaries, like Madonna, or Whitney Houston.

Of course, the real star of the show is newcomer Sidibe, as the unbreakable Precious. Supposedly, Sidibe's quite the opposite of the quiet, brow-beaten character she plays onscreen, but she makes a very appealing heroine, and you'll genuinely care about her by the end of the film. I know I did.

Despite the fact that it's far from a good time at the movies, I strongly recommend seeing PRECIOUS, as it's probably one of the most important films of the year. It's a harrowing, difficult film, but one that demands to be absorbed, as it shines a light on some of the inexcusable human suffering that exists all around us. If you want want a feel good, family film- go see THE BLIND SIDE. But, if you're looking for something with a lot more edge, and a heck of a lot more substance- check out PRECIOUS.

RATING: 9.5/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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