The abnormally long titled “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” is definitely not a feel-good movie as it deals with young black overweight girl, pregnant from her second child fathered by her own father and who lives with her abusive mother who on a good day only throws things like pots and pans at her. So as you have might have guessed, this is a feel-bad movie to its core.
We are witness how this girl survives her life. A life full of abuse and how she escapes into her imagination when she is the victim of abuse. When her father is sexually abusing her she imagines herself being on the red carpet signing autographs to fans. Imagination is a fun place to stay for a short while for us, but for Precious it’s pure survival. It’s her way to deal with things. Things slowly change when Precious starts following lesson in a specialized school and gets taken in with her teacher after her mother has a rage attack so bad it can only be described as an attempted murder.
To say Precious’ life is bad is an understatement. But it’s also over the top. No doubt there are kids who lead this kind of life but in the movie it kind of felt like a daytime soap opera at moments. Precious has a kid with down-syndrome that lives with her grandma, she is used as a slave by her mother and occasionally falls victim to her violent behavior, every now and then she must also help her when she’s masturbating, she’s pregnant with her second child by her own father who used her as a sex toy before he passed away. She is very obese and unpopular at school. She is illiterate, which surprised me as it was stated that she was good at math and was following class with children of her age. How much shit can you dump on a person? That question is answered in this movie and I was surprised she didn’t do any drugs. Or maybe they’re saving that for the sequel.
But despite all that, or maybe because all of that, Precious is an involving movie, with a lead-character you care for even though her amount of obesity had me frowning from time to time. I like a full figured woman, but Gabourey Sidibe a really really big girl. She’s even bigger than Mo’nique who starred in a very bad movie called Phat Girlz so that is saying something. I don’t think the roles will be thrown at her even after pulling of this role in a strong performance.
Who also surprised everybody was Mo’nique in her role of the mother who blames her daughter for stealing her husband. Yes it’s a strong performance but her character is a monster to its core. Not one moment is she given a different face than just being horrific. Even her applauded breakdown leaves you with disgust. This adds to the over the top feeling I got from everything that happens to Precious. This woman throws with children, even a three day old baby, this woman at one point tries to drop a television on Precious from the stairwell. She makes Michael Meyers look like a saint. Another strong performance, but one that does linger onto becoming a caricature.
Another surprise comes from Mariah Carey who as a social worker delivers a more convincing role in just a handful of scenes than she did in the entire running time of Glitter.
Strong performances are the key to what could have been a true soap opera if it had been played by lesser actors. The are the heart in a movie that will not provide you with a good feeling.