Precious: DVD Review

Set in 1987, Precious is based on the book: Push by Sapphire and revolves around an obese African-American teenager nicknamed Precious, who is pregnant with her second child at the age of 16 after being repeatedly raped by her father.

Precious’ mother, the rapist’s partner, takes out her self-hatred in the form of horrendous jealous rages against Precious and subjecting her daughter to brutal physical and emotional abuse. Although Precious learns to overcome the abuse through special educational classes and also learns to nurture improved self-esteem, in the film’s last scenes she receives news enticing a fresh round of sadness and despair.

Undoubtedly, the outstanding and heart wrenching ­performance of newcomer ­Gabourey Sidibe as Precious is unforgettable. The fact the film is her début leaves you craving more from her as an actress.  Her mother, Mary is well-played by the comedian Mo’Nique, whose play on brutality is frighteningly chilling.

The biggest surprise for me was Mariah Carey in her no make-up and bling-free role as Precious’ social worker and through which Carey has in my opinion raised her standing in terms of acting ability. Mariah has won 5 Grammy Awards; 17 World Music Awards (the most won by any artist); 11 American Music Awards; and 28 Billboard Music Awards, however for me her most memorable performance is as Mrs. Weiss in Precious. I barely recognised the stripped back Carey in her most nondescript role yet, for which she rightly won the Breakthrough Performance and Supporting Actress of the Year Awards. Although Carey has stared in several films before, I can only hope that as her awards suggest, she has finally ‘broken through’ into ‘serious acting’.

Precious’ story broke my heart and even though it was a work of fiction, what was hard to acknowledge is that her story is true. As the film suggests, there are Precious girls everywhere. The film also shamed me into thinking I ever had the right to complain of hardship. Despite this though, there is a shining sparkle of innocence amidst the heartbreak, particularly in Precious’ character.

The film opens with Precious portrayed as the ‘typical teenager’ with two young children and an incomplete education. Yet when the door opens into her home life you are shamed into retracting your quick judgement of her and those like her. In fact, the film is full of misconceptions. From the beginning as Precious tells her story, similarly it is only towards the end of the film do you understand Mo’Nique’s character as Precious’ mother, Mary. In fact it is her mother who has caused such pain and disruption in her daughter’s life, who finally gives Precious the gift of moving on and the hope of ending the abuse. While watching the film, you are convinced Mary is a closed book, a monster through and through. The film sheds light on Mary’s life (albeit briefly) and proves that not all monsters are monsters to begin with, they are only made that way by others.

The film ended leaving me empty and hungry to know whether Precious survived the crises that life had thrown at her. However upon contemplation of this, it was the best way to close the door on her story. Living the life of Precious, you will be living a day at a time. There is no answer to whether you will survive, only hope and that is what you see in Precious.

Furthermore, that is what the film has given me. Hope. Hope that although my life is miles away from that of Precious and my difficulties considerably inconsequential in comparison, there is hope that I too can survive the trials I struggle with.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. grandmac
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 16:34:04

    Yes it puts our “normal” lives into perspective. I enjoyed it too and will try not to complain too much in future.


  2. alphabetgames
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 22:06:22

    Hopefully you will be more successful that I have been. I failed only hours after posting my review…


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