Monday, November 16, 2009


The movie poster for the film, "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire"

Comedian/actress Monique shines as the monster mom, Mary.

Newcomer actress Gaby Sibidie plays the lead character.

'Precious' uses humor to tell hardening family drama

(RATING: 4 **** out of 4 stars)

Set in 1987 the film, like the book, tells the story about a portly, illiterate teen, Precious (played by newcomer Gaby Sibidie) who's pregnant with her second child from by her father and is on the verge of getting kicked out of junior high school.

During her struggles, Precious lives with her mental and physically abusive mother Mary (played by comedian Monique) and is saved by her alternative school teacher Ms Rain (played by Paula Patton).

Sibidie and actress Paula Patton as the sympathetic teacher Ms. Rain.

Directed by critically acclaimed director Lee Daniels ("Monster's Ball"), this film adaptation of poet Sapphiries' 1997 novel, "Push," is uncompromising, horrifying and deliciously and brutally honest in regards totopics: illiteracy, poverty, and incest. At the heart of the film is its protagonist Precious played by Sibidie who's somewhat akin to the masochistic Celie of "Color Purple" and ending up hopeful of their future.

The dramatic scenes come from the abusive scenes from Sibidie and Monique as the cantankerous and villainous mother. The fantasy scenes of Precious wishing she was a star, a blonde, had a light skinned boyfriend and white works effectively to tell her story of one who wished they were in another existence beside her poor and black world. There are also a few scenes that are shocking to see on screen that will pull out every emotional fiber of your viewing of them.

A hospital scene with pop rocker Lenny Kravitz as her caregiver Nurse John and Sibidie.

Pop diva Mariah Carey dowdies down as the social worker, Ms. Weiss in one of the many strong supporting roles in the film.

There are some surprisingly good performances from the singer-cum-actors Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey. Kravitz (who's mother was the late actress Roxie Roker of "Jeffersons" fame), plays the caring nurse that helps Precious during her childbirth with likability. Carey plays the "racially vague" social worker, Ms. Weiss, who's low key manner works surprisingly well with sympathetic demeanor of the film (and interestingly enough, helps make Monique's final scene of the film Oscar worthy) come from the supper. The only drawback was the inaudibility of some of the lines spoken by Sibidie who played a mush mouth at times which made it hard to follow.
Although the film took many libertes thatw ere not in the book (especially the fantasy scenes) to tell the story, this adpaation is shot as though it was part gritty documentary and part social realism as though you were peaking in their world.
Filmed in six weeks in Brookyln in mid 2008,"Precious" has won many awards at the various film festival in and out of the country (including the Toronto Film Festival) and its stars Sibidie and Monique winning many actor awards for their standout performances. It would be a travesty if Oscar doesn't fall into place with the awards from the festivals. If anything,the film will bring much needed dialogue about painful family secrets swept under the rug and forcing that rug to come off.
And thank goodness Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry (who remaned the movie "Precious" form "Push" to set off any confusion to the thriller of the same name that came out this year) who bought the promotion rights to the film (and asssited in its distrbution through Lionsgate) for this film to be seen in theatres.
In theatres now.

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