Thursday, November 26, 2009


site | trailer
Big thumbs-up for an amazing cast and a moving story in a film that wreaks havoc with your heart, sinking or shocking it one minute, and tugging at its strings the next.

I really don't know what to tell you. There's nothing I can write that could do this film justice. Have you seen the trailer? If not, watch it, and you will get a very fair taste of this amazing film. Claire Precious Jones is a 16 year-old girl attending junior high, pregnant with her second child, living with her unemployed mother in an arrangement that lets her mom live on welfare. Her home life, such as it is, is a relentless battle of attrition with her abusive mother. When she's kicked out of school and begins an "alternative" program with a dedicated teacher, she begins to see that her life can be different, changed for the better. As wretched and inspiring as the trailer paints the story of PRECIOUS, the film is even moreso.

Be warned, have some kleenex ready. If there was anything like a recipe to this story, it would have been to heap the worst possible thing you can think of upon this poor girl, then, one-up yourself. Exceeding amounts of mean, hate, wrong, and, frankly, evil, are launched at Precious. That she survives makes her the strongest character you've ever encountered.

An exceptional cast makes it all very real... inspiring in moments and in others, painful, heart-sinking, and horrible. I'm not familiar w the actors, but Precious, her teacher, Miss Rain, and her mother (played by Mo'nique) are flawless, and I hafta say, I never saw GLITTER or whatever that was, but Mariah Carey is a wonderful surprise. Precious's classmates are all excellent, too.

One slight criticism, which is kind of unfair given the scope of the story and the limitations of a feature film—some things seem to happen/unfold too quickly in the course of the film. Examples in the first spoilery paragraph below.

If you can appreciate stepping into someone else's shoes for two hours of serious drama and pain, relieved by hope, kindness, and courage, SEE THIS FILM.

*SPOILER* Precious is in her new program for just a couple days, maybe even only one, when she visits Mrs. Weiss, her family's case officer, to confirm their continued need and qualification for welfare. In this visit, after years of following her mom's script and keeping quiet about the abuse she suffers at home, Precious begins to reveal the awful truth, thus ending their welfare support. The breakthru moment in Miss Rain's class IS powerful, but it seems just a little too soon for her to open up to this woman like that. It IS a completely logical follow-thru, tho, so like I said, it may simply be the constraints of two hours of storytelling. Late in the film, once Precious has moved out and is living on her own, her mother arranges to have a session with their case worker and Precious. It's not clear how much time has passed, but it's only the second time that mom has seen Precious since she escaped her abuse. In this session, her mother breaks down and confesses how she did not stop her boyfriend, Precious's father, from abusing her when she was only three years old. Again, this scene is in the right place, but it just feels too soon. And again, I feel like it may not be fair to fault the film for it because it's a story-time vs. cinema-time discrepancy. I wonder if (creative) editing might fix this. It's not like the pace is relentless, it's just that there's SO MUCH WRONG and its revelation is just... too quick. Too much, too hard, too sharp...

But perhaps that's the intent. There's no denying the impact of these revelations and confessions. Vicious and powerful...

*SPOILER* Consuelo, one of the other students at Each One Teach One, seems to have a history with Miss Rain that's never fully explained. Or, it's clued, but I failed to pick it up. I was sure they must be related, and at first I thought she might have been Miss Rain's daughter, but that doesn't compute. Then, maybe her partner's. Nope. Maybe I just read more into their classroom interactions than there is? Let me know if you know or picked up on enough for a good case.

Thanks to Maggie for buddying up for this.

Keep on keepin on~

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