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Genre: Drama
Director: Lee Daniels
Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz, Stephanie Andujar, Chyna Layne, Amina Robinson
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18

Official Website: http://www.weareallprecious.com/

Opening Day: 29 July 2010


Winner of three awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition, Lee Daniels’s PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL “PUSH” BY SAPPHIRE is a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome. Set in 1987, it is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a sixteen-year-old girl born into a life no one would want. She’s pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother (Mo’Nique), a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write.

Precious may sometimes be down, but she is never out. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One. Precious doesn’t know the meaning of “alternative,” but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.

Movie Review:

If there is one kind of story which will milk those tears of yours, it would be the story of a poor girl who has been abused all her life – physically and emotionally. You know how most girls yearn to be pretty princesses, wishing for the day to be swept off her feet by a Prince Charming on a dashing white stallion. So when a tale which is as gritty as this film comes along, you feel for the protagonist’s traumatic experiences and ponder how harsh life can really get. With a plot like that, it is also very convenient for filmmakers to indulge the protagonist’s self pity to churn out a predictable but sellable tear jerking melodrama.

We went into the theatre expecting that, but to our pleasant surprise, we stepped out feeling triumphant for our heroine, Precious.

You see, this 16 year old girl has been living a life full of hardships. She has an abusive mother who hurls unkind words at her all the time. On top of that, she throws things at her. As if that is not enough, the poor girl’s father raped and impregnated her – twice. So we have Claireece "Precious" Jones, who grows up poor, frustrated and illiterate. To make things worse, the unloved teenager is obese and black. How will someone survive this journey in life?

Director Lee Daniels knows better than to paint a picture of a young girl who has absolutely nothing to look forward in her life than to continue being abused. He serves up a platter of somewhat amusing emotions which will make you sit up and watch. There are sequences where Precious goes into moments of self fantasy before being snapped back into reality. This approach adds a nice touch to a film that gives the preconceived notion of a tale that will make you break down and weep. These rather quirky scenes are heartfelt, if not ironically heartbreaking to begin with.

The filmmakers also do not fall into the trap of painting a picture of false hope for the audiences. True, the film ends on a positive note, but it also incorporates a realistically poignant element to it. This is where the film’s screenplay scores, earning it an Oscar in the category of “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published” at the Academy Awards earlier this year. Writer Geoffrey Fletcher based his screenplay on American author Sapphire’s 1996 debut novel “Push”.

You may also have heard rave reviews about the cast’s performances (no thanks to Singapore’s eight month delay after the film’s general release in USA – but you know what they say, it’s better late than never), and we assure you that you have to see the film to experience the cast’s raw but powerful portrayal of the characters. First we have Gabourey Sidibe, who takes on the role of Precious. She gives an arresting performance who is abused mentally, physically and sexually, bringing out the prevalent social themes which haunt certain parts of the world. Also watch out for Mariah Carey’s rumpled characterization of a social worker may be her best big screen performance yet. Of course, you must have heard so much about Mo’Nique, whose abusive mother character is in a word – chilling. The 42 year old is a Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards.

The tremendously engaging acting aside, the film gives you a glimpse of hope that life may not be down in the dumps, even when things are constantly going against you. And this is what keeps us going on in this hustle and bustle of the city.

Movie Rating:

(A must watch piece of work that has greatness spelt all over it)

Review by John Li


. The Secret Life Of Bees (2008)

. The Banishment (2007)

. The Kite Runner (2007)

. Factory Girl (2006)

. Quinceañera (2006)

. 3 Needles (2005)

. The Princess Of Nebraska DVD (2007)


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