2009, 11-06 [re an advance screening on 10-14-09]:
Review of film: “PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE” [ at 45th CIFF = Chicago Int'l Film Festival ]
Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe
Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language.
“There you go, DREAMING again!”
“Everybody’s good at something.”
“Don’t nobody want you!”
“I do like you.”
Rating: 9 of 10 stars (based on a preview of the –minute film).
Abuse is far Worse when it’s FAMILY-based
I saw this at an advance screening attended by the Director LEE DANIELS & the young female star GABOUREY “GABBY” SADIBE who plays the title role of Claireece “Precious” Jones. They both attended a Q&A after the event, & I briefly spoke to each of them (all of which I plan on writing up later in more detail).
… This based-on-a-true-story film about an African-American family in 1987 concerns a single mother (MO’NIQUE) raising a 16-year-old daughter, “Precious” (GABOUREY “GABBY” SADIBE), who’s already had 1 baby & is currently pregnant with a 2nd child…
… Rather than being warm & nurturing, her mother is cold, bitter (at the absent father), lazy, & massively ABUSIVE (both physically & emotionally) towards Precious…
… She demands one thing after another from Precious, constantly puts her down & hits her (complaining about her weight & “stupidity”), & makes Cinderella’s stepmother look like a SAINT in comparison. Mo’Nique’s a WITCH of a bitch, & if you don’t immediately start to HATE her, there’s something likely “off-kilter” about you…
… You would hope that being away from her mother as a 9th grade schoolkid would add some peace into Precious’ life-- but things are continually upsetting for her there, because other juveniles make fun of her (for her weight & attitude and all)…
… She’s been able to get good marks in school-- but in actuality has an inability to READ or WRITE properly. Precious puts on a “stoic” & “unfeeling” face & attitude towards the outside world— but gets increasingly “combative” in response to the treatment she gets, & is threatened with expulsion for that (& her “family-way” condition)…
… The NY school system sends Precious to a advisor Mrs. Weiss (MARIAH CAREY), who offers her a chance to relocate to an “alternative” school called Each One / Teach One-- & altho she’s not sure just what that means or what she’ll face there, she agrees to the transfer, hoping it might somehow better her life…
… At the new school, the head of a literacy workshop, Ms. Rain (PAULA PATTON), takes a personal interest in Precious & works hard to give her the encouragement that’d been so lacking in her life…
… Precious starts to interact more with the kids at the school, including Cornrows (SHERRI SHEPHERD), Rita (STEPHANIE ANDUJAR) & others, & that also starts to help her self-confidence & growth as a person. Little by little, she starts to stand up to her increasingly-vicious mother…
… Will growth lead to more progress?... Will it help her attitude & willingness to become more outgoing?... Will it be “enough” to get Precious to where she “needs” to be for herself & her kids? Where will Precious “end-up” after all her efforts?… The movie answers all that & more…
… This film was an Official “Un Certain Regard” selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, & it won 3 awards at the Sundance Festival (including an Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition and the Grand Jury Prize)…
… As the “Centerpiece” film at the just-completed 45TH CHICAGO INT’L FILM FESTIVAL, “Gabby” won a “Breakthrough Performance Award” for “her emerging talent anticipating her future success and contributions to the film world”…
… Director LEE DANIELS received an “Artistic Achievement Award” from the CIFF, “for his tenacity, will, and stunning work in directing the film”. The film eventually received the Festival’s “AUDIENCE CHOICE Award”, about which Founder Michael Kutza said, “Like everyone else who’s seen it, I was left absolutely shattered by Precious…”
… Did the film deserve the accolades mentioned above? -- DEFINITELY! There was incredibly good work done by newcomer Gabby, Lee, Mo’Nique & various supporting players…
… It’s a film you’ll likely “remember” for a long time, & I expect you’ll probably leave the theater with a feeling of HOPEFULNESS about how people can “OVERCOME” thru hard work & good attitudes…
[ … Later, the film WON 2 OSCAR® awards-- to MO’NIQUE as Best Supporting Actress in a Lead Role, & to GEOFFREY FLETCHER for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published…
[ … It was also NOMINATED for other OSCAR® awards: for Best PICTURE of the Year; to LEE DANIELS for Best Achievement in Directing; to “GABBY” SIDIBE for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role; and to JOE KLOTZ for Best Achievement in Editing… ]
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