Friday, June 25, 2010

'PRECIOUS' (To get back into the swing of things)

Well ,why not get the ball rolling with some review, ANY review, to perk this halted blog up.

I rented a stack of movies yesterday, all on the list except 'Precious', which I've been wanting to see since it hit theatres last year (And after the Oscars, even moreso!).

Knowing lots about the story of this film, I was deeply afraid of how difficult it would be to watch. There's a part of me that is slowly losing the ability/desire to watch such horrific depictions of things (such as abuse, in this film's case), simply because I see it as somewhat exploitative. That being sad, Precious was carefully constructed in such a brilliant way that I never, ever felt there were any gratuitous displays of violence/abuse.
Crafted artfully, in such a unique cinematic style, Lee Daniels' award-winning film truly struck a cord. He pushed the envelope with this, going to a very dark place, unafraid to show ugliness. I absolutely adore his style of filmmaking - his storytelling is quick, sharp & poignant. I like directors who don't insult their audiences by "spelling it all out". Daniel's storytelling & editing is seamless and moves forward at such a perfect pace, as if you're given a gliding-over sense of Clarice "Precious" Jones' sad sad life.
The juxtaposition between the grimy, awful life circumstances of reality - and that of Precious' numerous dreamscapes - is incredible and extremely telling in and of itself. You could watch this film without any sound and know exactly what was going on.

When he does slow down, the potency of what is being said is all the more hardhitting. Nothing illustrates this example more clearly than the climactic scene, in the social worker's office with both Mary and Precious.

Wow wow yikes yikes yikkity yikes.

So. Hard. To. Bear.
I haven't seen anything like Mo'Niques acting, particularly in this scene, in a very long time. She plays Mary Jones with such originality, and without any stock-characteristics one might be tempted to utilise when portraying a mentally-ill, incredibly abusive person.

Mo'nique is utterly deserving of the Oscar for this performance.
Her speech, in that (second to) final scene there in the social worker's office, is heartwrenching. I found myself cringing and not breathing, stuck in a state of horrified disbelief. I also felt this overwhelming sense of pity, much like that of which was plastered all over (Mariah Carey's) the social workers face.

For the first time in the film, you feel this utter sense of pity for this monster of a woman. Her babbling, rambling insane chatter makes you wonder - What. The. Fuck.
And how? HOW on earth could NOBODY in the system have noticed how sick sick sick this woman was? And taken away her very very VERY abused daughter.

When I first heard about the film 'Precious' and exactly the circumstances of Precious' life, I thought, you have to be kidding me. I thought, aren't they overdoing this piece of fiction? Emotional, sexual and physical abuse? By both parents? Illiteracy? Not one, but TWO children as a result of her father's abuse, by the mere age of 16? Being kicked out of school? Discovering an HIV positive status?
I mean, the only thing they've left out of this story of utter horror is perhaps Precious getting in an accident that paralyses her. And perhaps being brutally murdered as well.
No, but, in all honesty, the story IS insane to someone lucky like myself, because it's so horrific. But the sad fact remains that it's not "out there" and sensational - there are girls like Precious out there. Right now. Every day. Past, present and future.

And how great is it that Daniel's film was dedicated "to all the precious girls out there". I've been curious enough to look up interviews on Youtube with Gabbourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique, and they are right...this film will hopefully save somebody's life.

5 out of 5 monkeys.


  1. I rented some films yesterday because I am at home sick, and I really want to see Precious but couldn't bring myself to grab it in this state. It just seems so heavy...haven't been able to watch Sampson and Delilah either even though I know both will be powerful. Instead I got a run of the mill romantic comedy (Love Happens)..which I liked for the Seattle scenes but wasn't anything special..and the Velveteen Rabbit to watch with Bean, which was sweet but not spectacular. I preferred Lassie with Samantha Morton, Peter O'Toole, Kelly MacDonald, etc.which we saw the other day. Fun to see you posting!!

  2. Hi Renee! Thanks for your comment. I know, with such heavy-going powerful films, you really have to be in the right mood or frame of mind to take them in. I am wanting to watch Sampson & De too, at some point. I was sick last week meself (ahh, the first cold snap of melbourne & subsequent colds n' flu) and have to admit, ALL I want to watch when I'm ill is light fluffy guilty pleasure type stuff. A friend has lent me a stack of tv series dvd's, and I devoured one while I was sick (one that is soooo silly it shall remain nameless on here...hee hee;)
    Hope you're feeling better & enjoying this crisp but kinda nice weekend. :)