Winter 2010 Features series
Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 4:00pm
Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 7:00pm
Directed by Lee Daniels
Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
Based on the book by Sapphire
Starring Gabourey "Gabbie" Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Lenny Kravitz
Rated 14A ·
Raw, vibrant, hopeful, and based on the novel by Sapphire this film will stand as one of the strongest American films of 2009. Multiple award-inner Precious may shock, but at its heart is the story of a young woman determined to better herself despite overwhelming obstacles.
Harlem, 1987: Claireece “Precious” Jones is a teenager in a living hell. She is pregnant, for the second time, by her own father. Her mother (a searing performance by Mo’Nique) is emotionally abusive and physically brutal. Precious has been mistreated and undervalued her whole life; her obesity appears to be both a result of and a shield against the hateful acts committed by those who should love her most.
But she can dream. Sullen and suspicious to most casual observers, Precious has a rich inner world full of colourful fantasies of celebrity and adoration. As in the original novel by Sapphire, Precious narrates her interior life with hilarious wit. Director Lee Daniels keeps the sparkle and insight of Sapphire’s language, even as he shows a girl keeping her head down in the face of shocking abuse and neglect.
Already in grade nine, Precious can neither read nor write. Faced with expulsion, she accepts an alternative programme without fully knowing what “alternative” means. Here, she finds opportunity for the first time. The teacher, Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), glimpses the Precious beneath her fierce exterior and begins to draw her out.
The hardship is real in Precious, which is based on Sapphire’s experiences teaching in Harlem. But the effect of the film is an electric encounter with the highs and lows of life. Daniels inspires his actors to reach deep into themselves to communicate the truth of this story. Patton is consistently strong, Mo’Nique is a revelation, Mariah Carey utterly transforms herself and Lenny Kravitz is pure charm playing a nurse. But all respect must go to newcomer Gabourey Sidibe as Precious. She is simply unforgettable.