This was originally written for my school paper. I’m uploading it as a charitable deed for an interested party.
Review of Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
3.5 out of 5
Precious is the story of Precious, an extremely marginalized young woman. She is sixteen years old in junior high , very, very corpulent, socially alienated and reading at the level of a second grader. Sadly, there are many young Americans that can be described this way, so of course, it get worse. Her mother, played by Mo’Nique (The Parkers), is brutally abusive verbally and physically, disgustingly lazy and most importantly, frighteningly real. Her father is absent throughout the movie except for when he rapes Precious in a flashback. Because of her low academic performance and the fact that she is pregnant by her father [again], it is recommended that Precious attends an alternative school. This escalates the tension between Precious and her mother, which drives the plot of the film.
As an avid hater of spoilers, I’m going to stop here and start the actual reviewing.
If you aren’t sad by now, you are probably that heartless person that Kanye was melodramatically singing [whining] about last year. Anyway, the 3.5 isn’t as arbitrary a number as you think. My main problem with the movie was the recurrence of dream sequences. While incapacitated or experiencing something traumatizing, Precious would have lurid fantasies in which she is a celebrity or some other figure that is worshipped by others. Maybe the intention behind these sequences is to show that the fantasy world is the only world that Precious can be happy in. Or perhaps the sequences were intended to show why consumer culture appeals to the people that should hate it the most. I don’t know. However, I do know that they really irritated me and seemed to severely undercut the seriousness of the film. Also, the ending was a bit unsatisfactory. Telling you this is probably pointless because I am not going to tell you why it was unsatisfactory, but I could have said nothing, so appreciate my charity.
Nevertheless, the film has some things that I really, really liked. First, Mariah Carey has officially redeemed herself as an actress. If you’ve seen Glitter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve seen screensavers with more depth than that “movie” (I’m not sure if can actually be considered a movie). Second, there are two lesbians presented in the movie as normal people rather than as hypersexual nymphs that do nothing but scissor and French kiss (Transformers 2 is so terrible). Also, there is a really depressing scene where Precious looks in the mirror and sees a young, petite and pretty white girl, showing how ashamed she is of herself and implying that acceptance entails complete self-destruction and absolute conformity to the norm. Finally, I saw the fact that Precious was able to get to junior high school despite being functionally illiterate as a criticism of the inadequacy of urban school systems and I agreed with it.
Despite the angst the dream sequences caused me, I do not think seeing it would be a waste of time. I just wouldn’t make it a priority.