Precious 2009 (2009) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. Runtime: 110 mins Release Date: 20 Nov 2009
Gabourey Sibide looks and sounds a lot like the late Hattie McDaniel; if a biopic about McDaniel is ever made, Sibide should star. Starting from this superficiality, it is clear that the character Sibide plays, an abused, obese late- 20th-century Harlem teenager three or four generations down the line from the McDaniels era, seems to embody a sadly ironic regression in the status of black women in America. Precious's very existence and her debased environment speak to a grave social disease that continues to poison our civilization – the creation and perpetuation of a dependent <more>
underclass. At one point Precious compares her self image to "black grease that needs to be wiped away." The horror of it all is that as dreadful as Precious's situation is, she is actually better off than many others in similar straits. She is, despite obesity, strong and healthy, drug free and has a beautiful smile. There are plenty of underclass females much closer to an early grave and utter hopelessness than she.The story takes us on the journey of this monstrously mistreated young female from near destruction at the hands of her violent, hyper-narcissistic mother Mo'Nique and her rapist father who has impregnated her twice by age 16 to a rescue with the help of a frayed but still somewhat viable network of dedicated social workers who help her gain literacy and independence from her wicked elders.Interspersed with the depressing realities of ghetto life is the constant flow of Precious's glamorous daydreams, the little fires generated by her undying spark of life, her only opening toward beauty and light, imagining herself wrapped in beautiful gowns, doted on by handsome men, cheered by adoring crowds on the red carpet; wealth, fame, as she knows them from the pop culture that is her only mental nourishment. For her mother and for herself, life is an endless round of TV–food–arguments-TV–food-arguments. In their dark and dingy apartment, practically the only illumination is from the TV screen.Mo'Nique's performance is revelatory on multiple levels, down to the bone of the human condition and certainly up to the highest screen standards. It is bravura work. Sibide's performance is technically masterful but much of her effectiveness comes from her imposing physical presence; this is not meant to detract one iota from her acting skills – it is just a fact. The excellent supporting performances include a pleasing turn from singer Mariah Carey as a down-to-earth social worker with a playful personality; it's an inventive characterization. But the whole cast excels and they should be honored for great ensemble work, especially the young ladies in the special education classroom. Flaws? The pacing seems to slow down unnecessarily toward the end and Precious's educational progression seems a bit confused and not completely fleshed out, but this is minor stuff. This is a very inspired work of art by someone with a fresh vision. It is not preaching morals or slogans, just revealing truth.
Heartbreaking and Riveting, Precious Will Win Your Heart (by alexart-1)
I saw Precious at the New York Film Festival yesterday. As you may know, Precious is the only film to ever win the Audience Award at both the Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals. The film has been highly hyped since January and I was afraid I would be underwhelmed. Well, I sure wasn't! Precious is a powerhouse piece of cinema that will rip your heart to shreds. The acting is pitch perfect from everybody and the film-making is unusual. Precious is about Claireece 'Precious' Jones, an overweight girl who has already had a child with Down's Syndrome from when she <more>
was raped by her father. Her mother constantly abuses her and she's already pregnant with her second baby. When she gets kicked out of school and is forced to go to an alternative school to help her get her GED, she realizes that there may actually be hope for her. The acting is easily the most important and best thing during Precious. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe will absolutely be famous and definitely deserves the Best Actress Oscar. Her performance was so real and searing that you're just forced to sympathize with her. Other cast includes Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, and Mo'Nique who are all unfamiliar to the genre, but still perform very well. Mo'Nique gives a really great performance as the abusive mother Mary and should definitely win an Oscar as well. Mariah Carey's performance is a bit dry, but her character is not very major. Paula Patton, the actress who plays Blu Rain, Precious' teacher, gives a believable and loving performance as well. Also, the girls in Precious' class are all great. I actually was sitting behind them at the screening and got the them to sign my Playbill. They were all very excited. The crowd seemed to love the movie. At Toronto, people laughed at serious parts, but the New York audience ate it up. People clapped for Precious, cried at the right parts, and even gasped at the screen over some of the violence. The violence is often so abrupt that it feels as if you too could have just been hit over the head with a pan. Everybody was so engaged in watching it even Gabourey Sidibe herself who had already seen it three times. Even she had trouble watching some parts. At the end of the movie, everyone in the audience stood up and gave Lee Daniels and his cast about a ten minute standing ovation. Everybody loved the film. Precious is definitely one of the best movies of the year and will definitely at least be nominated for Best Picture if not win it. It may be a bit bleak, but Precious gives me and everybody else hope. Lee Daniels wrote a quotation at the end of the movie that said "For precious girls everywhere". This is what really put the icing on the cake. Precious is a magnificent and disturbing movie.
I won't try to deny my slight bias while I was watching this movie. To be in a theater among many movie enthusiasts, and most importantly the director of the film Lee Daniels and the author of the novel Sapphire will most certainly have an effect on your movie going experience. But not enough of a bias to effect whether or not the film is any good.Precious is the name of the protagonist, played by Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe , a teenage girl who is one of the most harsh conditions upon our first meeting with her. She's pregnant for the second time to her own father's <more>
child, her mother Monique is an unstable and dangerously abusive woman, and she is unable to read and write. This is a terrible situation to be in, but Precious manages to live through it through her dreams, blocking out harsh memories with hopes of becoming a fashion model or a movie star. The story kicks off when Precious is invited to a special learning school, where the classroom is small and where she will be able to learn in a better environment.From this description of the plot, the film sounds tried. I was concerned for a brief moment while watching that this would be another "Stand and Deliver" or "Freedom Writers". We've all heard and seen these "problem stories" of inter-city kids who go to the top. For one, although the film briefly uses these classroom dynamic scenes, enough of the film is so unrelated we realize that comparing this film to those isn't fair. Precious is about a girl, not about a student or a classroom.Let me tell you up front: Precious isn't a problem movie the kind of movie where things just get worse and worse, and then finally some solution is made . Despite how many obstacles are thrown at Precious, and believe me a whole lot are, the film is still entirely about who Precious is, and mostly, how she can raise her head high and keep going in all these loathsome situations. Director Lee Daniels here I go with my bias of seeing it with the director actually encouraged the audience to laugh, because there are a lot of humorous scenes, intertwined with some incredibly jarring ones. Unlike "Requiem for a Dream", which is such a depressing movie you are left with a bad taste in your mouth, Precious is actually a very positive film about how to stand through these trials of life. You will see scenes in this film that will irk you, but enough of the film is good-spirited and, dare I say, light, that leaving the film you will feel good about yourself, and with a positive outlook on your own life. It also makes one grateful for the fortunate situations we're all in, because I don't think anyone has it rougher than Precious in this film.This isn't a Slumdog Millionaire rags-to-riches story. Because the film only deals with about a year of her life, we don't see Precious win the million dollars or get into college. Any of that would just be cheesy. Instead, we see her trying to learn to write, being a single parent, and getting out of potentially dangerous situations. It adds for a fuller and richer film that feels more heartfelt.The directing is not some of the best ever, but it is of a high enough caliber that Lee Daniels deserves some praise this awards season. I think he will not have too much trouble getting a nomination. As for a win, I am not so sure especially with my personal pick Kathryn Bigelow . My only complaint is some jerky hand-held for one or two scenes, but that's not enough to defer from the great things he does. The acting and the screenplay of this film are exactly the type of Oscar-winning pieces you can name. Monique as an abusive mother is downright scary for a long time, but soon she actually makes us empathetic toward such a monster. I have no doubt in her chances of getting a nomination, and as of now she is my pick for the win. As for Gabby Sidibe: she's very good, but it all depends on who the competition is.The screenplay is brilliant, never feeling slow or rushed. The pacing of this film is steady enough that we're engrossed the entire time. Watch out for smaller roles by Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, both of whom appear briefly without any make-up or nice clothing . So far, Precious is sweeping the festivals and is looking like it's on a road to Oscar glory, and well deserved. The film opens in NY and LA on November 6th, and will be in theaters everywhere by November 20th. Be sure to make a point of seeing this film.My Rating: 10/10
Once every so often a film comes along that will change your perception of things. In one way or another it will give you elements to better yourself. "Precious" is such a film. Lee Daniels, the director, takes things to extremes, so much so that this could easily be an opera. When you think that things couldn't be worse, you discover that they have been worse already for a long time. Precious is played by a sort of miracle. Her name is Gubarey Sidibe and I don't even know how to pronounce it but I will certainly take her in my mind from now on, always. When she stands <more>
listening to the rantings of her mother, I surprised myself by feeling tears running down my face. The mother, a standout, once in a lifetime performance by Mo'Nique, is also a character we've never seen before. Brutal, unsentimental and truthful to the core. I saw the film over three weeks ago and I can't shake it out of my system, if that in itself is not a sign of greatness I don't know what is.
This is a truly moving, patiently directed American movie the likes of which we rarely get treated to anymore. The word 'Precious' certainly does take on it's original meaning after seeing this story unfold. Just when I think 'the movies' have lost their last bit of integrity, a movie like this comes along as though to say 'don't worry, it's still an art form'. As for Mo'Nique... well... I wonder what she'll say in her acceptance speeches? Brava, brava, brava. And Mariah's performance is outstanding and deeply surprising as well.I can't <more>
I just saw this film at Sundance, and it was truly amazing. I confess I did not read the book I will now , but I suspect that Daniels really took it to the next level. The story of Precious and her world was deeply moving and supremely well acted. I was particularly surprised at my own ability to laugh, along with the story, at the worst humanity can throw at us. After the film, Daniels, the producers, and the entire cast came forward to many standing ovations. Gabby was indeed charming, and I was particularly riveted by Mo'Nique's discussion of how she was able to become Mary, <more>
Precious' mother. Daniels fielded many questions from the audience, mostly directed at the task of realizing this story. I hope to see his work again. This is a heavy film, but I highly recommend it.
Powerfully emotive story filled with hope and optimism (by wmjaho)
I'm not surprised that Push won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award at Sundance this year. Director Lee Daniels Shadowboxer has created a very powerful film that manages to entertain while evoking a broad spectrum of emotions, from anger and heartbreaking pity to optimism, joy and hope.Clareece "Precious" Jones Gabby Sidibe is a fat 16-year-old illiterate black girl that lives in Harlem with her welfare-dependent, abusive mother Mo'Nique . She has one autistic daughter who lives with her grandmother and is pregnant with another child, both from her mother's <more>
boyfriend, who is also Clareece's father. Her mother repeatedly tells her how stupid and worthless she is while other kids taunt her for her obesity. She has become hardened and heartless, lacking education and social skills. She spends her time cooking for her mother and fantasizing unrealistically about a glamorous life. She would be easy to dismiss. Based on a novel by Sapphire, this is some pretty bleak stuff.But good things can happen in this world and Precious is blessed with an indomitable spirit that refuses to accept the negative reinforcement that bombards her. Through her efforts, and despite resistance from her mother, she finds an alternative school. It is staffed by Miss Rains, a caring teacher Paula Patton and classmates who, although anything but perfect, possess enough compassion to become supportive friends. It turn out that the world can be a pretty good place.First-time actress Gabby Sidibe gives a powerful, emotive performance. Equally good is talented actresses Mo'Nique, who is almost frightening as Precious' mother, and Patton as the compassionate teacher. Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey also have minor roles, giving the film a little star power.Daniels conveys a Harlem existence that is profane, hard-edged and brutal, but with rays of humanity and compassion that leave room for hope. It is at once both a message to the poor in spirit not to despair, and to the rest of us make the time and effort to reach out where we can. Push is an inspiring message that will fill you with optimism and joy.Sundance Moment: When asked about her getting the role, Sidibe said that she had some acting experience--like a non-speaking role in a college production. Pretty funny! She said her friends encouraged her to audition because she "fit the profile." She also said she relied heavily on "Mr. Daniels" for direction. Daniels said there were parts of making the movie that were hard on him emotionally--like directing Precious to eat, or instructing her peers to bully her.
Powerhouse Performances Tower Over a Harrowing Yet Enthralling Tale of Redemption (by EUyeshima)
To my surprise, this soul-baring 2009 drama is neither as painful nor depressing as the subject matter would imply. In fact, director Lee Daniels' treatment alternates so fluently between gritty realism, social uplift, and fanciful episodes of fantasy that the end result is as much enthralling as it is emotionally draining. First-time screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher does a solid job adapting the 1996 source novel by Sapphire, "Push", but the strength and honesty of the cast is what sears in the memory. Daniels could have been otherwise charged with stunt casting had he not drawn <more>
out such powerhouse work from the out-of-left-field likes of comedienne Mo'Nique and pop diva Mariah Carey. Granted Daniels in his second directorial effort is not the most subtle of filmmakers his first film was the strangely exotic "Shadowboxer" , but he does bring a level of florid passion that the subject desperately needs to alleviate the unrelenting bleakness of the title character's existence.Set in Harlem in 1987, the story centers on sixteen-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones, a morbidly obese girl so void of self-worth that she refers to herself without irony as "ugly black grease to be washed from the street". Nearly illiterate, she finds herself pregnant for the second time by her father, and the school principal arranges to enroll Precious at an "alternative" institution. She recognizes this as an opportunity to better herself, but her mother Mary discourages it and forces Precious to apply for welfare. The unenviable mother-daughter relationship is the crux of the film, and it is here the film gives an unblinking account of monstrous physical and psychological abuse that explains the sharp contrast between Precious' inner and outer lives. On the outside, she is a forlorn yet formidable presence with a face so full that she can't express emotion without a great deal of effort. On the inside, she is loved and admired unconditionally. The two slowly come together at Precious' new school where she finds acceptance and redemption through a dedicated teacher improbably named Blu Rain , who must get through to a classroom full of girls all disadvantaged in their own ways.The birth of Precious' son, along with the bonding she feels at school, signals a harrowing showdown between mother and daughter and ultimately a confrontation between Mary and Mrs. Weiss, the no-nonsense social worker who seeks the truth behind Precious' home life. In the title role, Gabourey Sidibe is ideally cast given the film's semi-documentary approach. An untrained actress, she is able to elicit empathy by giving herself completely to the inchoate character, and when Precious breaks down from the weight of yet another seemingly insurmountable development, Sidibe gives the scene a halting honesty. Paula Patton "Swing Vote" gets to play the Sidney Poitier role of the elegantly transformative teacher as Ms. Rain, but she gives the too-good-to-be-true character a palpable sense of passion. As Mrs. Weiss, a role originally slated for Helen Mirren who co-starred in Daniels' "Shadowboxer" , Mariah Carey, bereft of her glistening make-up and diva mannerisms, brings an audacious toughness to her smallish but pivotal role.However, it is Mo'Nique "Phat Girlz" that gives the film's most shattering performance. I don't know what emotional reservoir she is tapping into, but she nails Mary with a fury so startling and realistic that it's impossible to trivialize the source of her villainy. She never compromises the hardness in her character, and her self-justifying monologue is an impressive piece of work. There is also solid work from a couple of other unusually cast performers, comedienne Sherri Shepherd of the morning TV talkfest "The View" as a tough school administrator aptly named Cornrows and Lenny Kravitz as a sympathetic male nurse, and a scene-stealing turn from Xosha Roquemore as the ebullient Joann "My favorite color is florescent beige" . Not all of Daniels' left-turn devices work, for instance, using Sophia Loren's "Two Women" as the basis of one of Precious' fantasies seems contrived given only a die-hard cineaste would understand the connection. Regardless, it's no wonder that Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry put their stamp of approval on the film as executive producers since Precious ultimately finds a personal triumph despite the hard life has dealt her.
Just saw "Precious" at an advanced screening last night. Pretty impressive film. The lead, Gabby , gives a fantastic, honest performance of a societal reject who's esteem and self worth has been eradicated by her loathsome mother and the people around her. Paula Patton where did she come from? has an amazing presence as Precious' caring and concerned teacher Best scene in the film is when she commands Precious to write despite recent adversity . Also, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz can act. Damn. Powerful, strong cinematography and honest direction.The only problem I had <more>
with the film which is unfortunately a major one, is with Precious' mother, Mary. Let me say Mo'Nique plays the hell out of the role and god bless her for that but the director Lee Daniels fine work otherwise has given us way too much of a one-leveled, evil, tyrant witch who's reality comes across as false in an otherwise very real world. When she moves towards an attempt at redemption we almost see a glimpse of an honest human character but she doesn't quite get there.Sorry to make it a big deal but the relationship between Precious and her mother is so important in this story that it had to be addressed. Otherwise, a very powerful film that should definitely be checked out. *** out of 4