Sunday, March 14, 2010

Precious - DVD Review



Starring Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.
Directed by Lee Daniels.

Finally got to see this, as the studio decided to release the DVD the Tuesday after the Academy Awards, and I found myself not overhyped and well-braced for the hard-hitting subject matter that is this movie.

There's an undercurrent of joy to this movie, as Clarice Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) tends to get lost in fantasies of what she wishes her life was like. The she wakes up in the real world, where she's flunking high school, illiterate, and pregnant with her second child via her own father. Precious is a fairly quiet child, living in her own head, her size intimidatiing and a source of mockery.

She receives a ray of hope when she starts attending a new school with a caring teacher and sympathetic students. But at the end of each day, she must still home to her monstrous mother, played by Mo'Nique, who seems to be playing a one-dimensional villain until that final scene, where we get insight into her character in a monologue that Mo'Nique nails with all the right notes.

Lee Daniels, who made one of the weirdest misfires of the decade in Shadowboxer, has learned his lessons and at the same time is unafraid to explore dark corners. Even Mariah Carey is a credible actress under his watch as a social worker who's seen it all. Yes, it is brutal in parts, and it's even in danger of glorifying the ultimate bad childhood, but the movie never falls off the tightrope thanks to the effective work of the cast.

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