Sunday, 21 February 2010


Being pipped to win many an Oscar this year, this film is a relentless attack on your emotions - but does it work? Or does it just take advantage of your softer side by relying too much on the book?

Firstly, don't get too excited by the list of names that are making their appearances in the film. Lenny Kravitz plays a minor, but well-acted, part but I think his character might have had more weight in the book as it's somewhat meaningless here. Mariah Carey is in it for about a total of 8 minutes, though most of that is quite pivotal and she does do surprisingly well. So if you're in for the cast, then you might be disappointed. However, Mo'Nique is quite literally amazing. Her role as the horribly selfish, manipulative mother feels so real you could touch it and if she wins an Oscar for this, it's well deserved.

Precious herself is hard to look at. Her face is so full, her eyes so squinted up that it displays almost no emotion which reflects her persona. She has been hurt so much by people who claim to love her that she is constantly being defensive. Yet behind her hard exterior, is a soft caring little girl who fantasises about being loved by a man, about being glamorous, sexy and even just to look like a skinny white girl. These fantasies usually come about when she refuses to face the reality of the situation, such as being raped by her father, being made to eat (and not just food) by her mother etc. which can make for some hard viewing. But throughout, you just want her to keep on holding on, that it might just end up okay even after tragedy after tragedy.

The poor girl gets some breaks, it's not all complete doom and gloom. Her new school introduces her to some new friends and a more caring, understanding teacher, her love for her second child is insurmountable and her will to survive keeps her strong. But yet it's an emotional rollercoaster that some people might not want to get on to, and it's understandable - this doesn't hold back and things get worse before they get better. A final confrontation with her mother reveals more than just the extent of years of abuse, but a deeper rooted problem of what it is to be loved and to love.

The acting is pretty much perfect and it's lucky the celeb cast can hold their own otherwise it could have been a factor to really ruin the whole film. Instead, it works. The directing however feels somewhat amateur, the dissolves from scene to scene jar horribly and the camerawork isn't exactly spectacular. Instead the cinematography makes up for it by creating her home as a dark, depressing place and the brightness of her classroom, and even the hospital, reflect Precious' changing mood.

Overall, this film will tug on your heartstrings in a completely passive way. Instead of some out-and-out slush, this girl is tough and rarely breaks down - she doesn't want to feel sorry for herself but sometimes she just can't help it, which gives it a lot more credibility. My main issue was the somewhat uninspiring directing and instead of being a movie, it feels like a well acted play of what must be an incredible book. Definitely go see it if you can, it's worth it and makes a difference from the usual over-the-top weepies flooding Hollywood.

Rating: 8/10

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