Monday, March 1, 2010


The full title of this movie is-- brace yourself-- Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire. Far and away the most pretentious movie title I've ever heard. Before I even started watching I was totally prepared to hate it for pompous self-importance. Fortunately though, it carries just enough weight to live up to its title.

It's about Precious, a tremendously obese (you can hardly tell she's pregnant) and nearly illiterate black girl. She's from a hopelessly poor family. Not poor in a way that triggers sympathy, but a truly pathetic family that mooches off of welfare and lives devoid of dignity. The utter wickedness of Precious' parents is a spectacle to behold. Her mother abuses her, her father rapes her (she's pregnant with his child-- again), and her Down syndrome baby is treated like an animal.

Precious takes it all with stoicism against the relentlessness of her circumstances. The movie isn't exactly about her steadfastness to uplift herself-- her thoughts wander into delusions of grandeur when things get rough, as they often do, and she's resigned to a life of misery because it's all she knows. It's more about the sympathy and the potential that others see in her, like her teacher and the social worker. When she is invited to her teacher's house for a peaceful meal at the dinner table, she comments that it's just like in the movies.

This movie would fit right in with the whole batch of Best Picture nominees two years ago, dark and depressing stories that everyone recognizes the artistic merit of but nobody actually enjoys. Precious grinds away at your comforting shell and exposes a scary world. Not really something to be enjoyed, but it's an experience to appreciate.

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