Precious – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Precious – A Movie Review
Mar 152010
 

Precious Movie PosterClareece “Precious” Jones is an overweight, illiterate African-American teen in Harlem. Just as she’s about to give birth to her second child, Jones is accepted into an alternative school where a teacher helps her find a new path in her life.

Genres: Drama, Adaptation and Teen; Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.; Release Date: November 6th, 2009 (limited); MPAA Rating: R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language.

Starring: Mo’Nique , Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, Sherri Shepherd

Directed by: Lee Daniels

We watched this movie on DVD Friday night after seeing Alice in Wonderland and having a quick dinner. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I was up for watching this movie, as I knew it was a very dark tale. To my surprise, this movie was neither as painful nor depressing as the subject matter would imply. In fact, director Lee Daniels’ treatment alternates so fluently between realism, social uplift, and 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 makes the film.

We’re now all pretty familiar with the story of Gabourey Sidibe, an untrained actress, cast in the title role. She is able to elicit empathy by giving herself completely to the character, and when Precious breaks down from the weight of yet another seemingly insurmountable development, Sidibe gives the scene a halting honesty. She was definitely deserving of her Oscar nomination. Paula Patton gets to play the Sidney Poitier role of the elegantly transformative teacher, interestingly named Blu Rain, but she gives the too-good-to-be-true character a real sense of passion. As Mrs. Weiss, Mariah Carey brings an audacious toughness to her smallish but pivotal role.

And I see why Mo’Nique got her Oscar. She provides the film a perfect performance. I don’t know where she pulled up those emotions, 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.

The cinematography captures perfectly the dark grittiness of the home and street life the author and screenwriter wanted to portray. Each scene managed to pull me more and more into the story, and you can’t help but start to root for Precious and the others in her class who come to give her more of a family than she’s had at home.

It’s still not a fun film to watch, but it’s worth watching to see real struggles portrayed in such an authentic story by excellent actors who nail their parts.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars6 Stars7 Stars8 Stars9 Stars10 Stars (1 votes, average: 7.00 out of 10)
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Army Captain Alleges Systematic Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners

 Politics, War  Comments Off on Army Captain Alleges Systematic Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners
Sep 272005
 

Time magazine yesterday revealed new allegations of "systematic abuse" of Iraqi detainees made by a "decorated former Captain in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division." For months, Capt. Ian Fishback said, U.S. soldiers were directed "to conduct daily beatings of prisoners prior to questioning." In one instance, "a soldier allegedly broke a detainee’s leg with a metal bat." Other prisoners had "their faces and eyes exposed to burning chemicals." Fishback says he told Army superiors of the abuse several times, but was met with "repeated brush-offs." Finally, he reported his charges to Human Rights Watch (read HRW’s full report). Now that the abuse is public, the Army says it has launched a criminal investigation.