based on the novel Push by SapphireSome films you go to see purely for light entertainment. To enjoy the pretty pictures and the mindless action. Precious is not one of those films. It one that you aren’t sure you actually want to see. You know it is going to make you feel uncomfortable, and that it’ll probably pray on your mind after you’ve watched it.
Precious tells the story of Claireece Precious Jones; poor, uneducated and abused, she is only sixteen but already has her second child on the way. Nothing seems to work in her life. She is abused mentally, physically and sexually at home. At school she says little, but is bullied by all. Her only escape seems to be her daydreams of being famous and sought after. She dreams of having a “light-skinned boyfriend”, and lives for the moments she can slip away to her imagination where her maths teacher wants to marry her.
Her school can’t deal with her so an alternative school is recommended to her. Against her mother’s wishes, she is more interested in the welfare payments than her “dumb fat” daughter’s education, Precious begins to attend. And to maybe find a way to begin to escape her torturous life.
In some ways this film seem to be laid on so think. Precious’ mother is irrdeemably evil. Precious’ situation is terrible. Raped by her father. Hated by her mother. Mother to a child with Down’s Syndrome who lives with her granny. To say it is bleak is to understate the fact.
But the acting makes this film believable. Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe give such believable performances. You really believe in them as characters, and while you may hate Mo’Nique’s Mary, you never doubt her. And as for Mariah Carey! I have to say that I am impressed with her acting in this film. She’s almost unrecognisable. (And while I didn’t recognise Lenny Kravitz I was less impressed by him, or maybe just with the oddness of having that character in the film).
In some ways this is a hopeful film. I’m not giving away any spoilers by revealing that Precious begins her journey towards freedom in this film. But if we are to accept that in real life there are people out there in similar situations then shouldn’t this film depress us even more? To think that anyone has to go through some of the things Precious battles against is almost unbelievable, if all too true. And by giving us a “happy” ending is the film cheating its subject matter. How many people in that situation do escape?