Friday, November 20, 2009

Movie Review: Precious - Based on a Novel Push by Sapphire

Monster's Ball producer Lee Daniels follows up his 2005 directorial debut, Shadowboxer, with this adaptation of author Sapphire's best-selling novel about an overweight, illiterate African-American teen from Harlem who discovers an alternate path in life after she begins attending a new school. Clareece "Precious" Jones is only a teenager, yet she's about to give birth to her second child - from her father. With a little help from a sympathetic teacher (Paula Patton) and a kindly nurse (Lenny Kravitiz), the young girl receives something that most teens never get -- a chance to start over. Mo'nique co-stars as her abusive mother.

What could have easily played out like a Lifetime movie of the week starring Judith Light was well-crafted, extremely well acted and never plodding.  Even when tugging at our heartstrings it was never overly melodramatic - and I think this is the reason I liked the film the most.  Often times sad - it was always somewhat eye-opening.  Someone asked me the day after I saw it, 'is it based on a true story?'  I realized then that it didn't matter.  Yes, in fact, it is.  It is based on many true stories.  Too many.  And that is the world we are living in. 

At the end of the day, this is an inspirational drama featuring a stunning performance by newcomer Gabourey "Gabbie" Sidibe, who will almost definitely be nominated for an Oscar.  If you think your childhood was rough, go see this movie.  If you think you had a great childhood, go see this movie.  Either way, you will realize that there are people out there every day in a struggle we can only imagine.  And they need help in one way or another.

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