So the much talked about film “Precious” finally opens in select cities today (then rolls out across the country over the next couple of weeks). I’m sure a lot of folks are probably saying finally because this flick has been hyped since January when it premiered at Sundance and blew those in attendance away. That is certainly a long lead time but I’m here to say that the film definitely lives up to all the hype.
I saw a screening of Lee Daniels’ stirring adaptation of “Push” by Sapphire a couple of weeks ago. But I chose to wait until now to offer a review of the film. Don’t worry, I won’t give too many details away (because I really, really, really think you should see it for yourself….did I say really enough?). Okay now I’ll stop begging now and get to the film. Anyway, Daniels does a brilliant job of counterbalancing some very tough subject matter with lighter moments (yes, you will actually laugh at times). I wasn’t expecting that I had my hankies at the ready (oh but you already know they’ll be needed too).
So here’s what everyone knows Claireece “Precious” Jones is overweight, undereducated, sexually and physically abused and pregnant with her second child. And of course she has the Mother From Hell. But here’s what you don’t know: You can only imagine how great an actress Mo’Nique is in this role (and it has to be seen to be believed). So much so that she never be known as a Queen of Comedy again. She does an excellent job of being both evil, cruel, broken and woefully misguided. Gabourey Sidibe as the girl in question will have you believing that this dark existence is all she’s every known.
The two are surrounded with supporting players who also bring their A game (even Sherri Shepherd). Mariah Carey has gotten a whole lot of press because Daniels convinced her to play a very plain social worker. But the truth is we’ve seen beautiful women get uglified for a role before (remember Charlize Theron?). What’s remarkable here is that Carey nails her part and makes you forget “Glitter” wasn’t supposed to be played for laughs. Her expressions, her demeanor and even the accent is spot on. Because only so much hype can be spread around Paula Patton has been largely overlooked (although she too is a very beautiful women who is somewhat de-glamourized for the role). Robin Thicke’s wife serves as the glue that holds the story together—what happens in her classroom provides the glimmer of hope that makes this more than an unbearable tale. Truth be told it’s Patton’s scenes with Sidibe that made me pull out the hanky a couple of times too.
And I have to give a shout out to the young women who are in class with Precious—especially Chyna Layne as Rhonda and
Xosha Rocquemore as Joann. Just trying to understand what Layne is saying half the time provides some comic relief. Plus you should know that there is at least one brother with a heart in the mix in the form of Lenny Kravitz as Nurse John (a nice dose of eye candy amidst the hard stuff).
So here’s the bottom line. If you can take an amusement park ride you can also handle “Precious”. On a rollercoaster there are times when you may feel uncomfortable but the overall ride is satisfying. The movie will definitely not go down easy in parts but in the end the fat girl is winning (in spite of everything). (Okay I wrote 600 words when 2 will do….See It!)Read Also