Precious – Movie 2009

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Last night I watched Precious, the movie based on Sapphire’s novel entitled Push.  I won’t tell you too much about the plot, but comment more on how the movie compares to the book.  As stated in my book review, this is a difficult story to digest.  It’s very raw–the language, the subject matter, and the delivery. I was somewhat scared to see the film version, fearing that seeing the visual representation of this story would be too intense to stomach.

The first thing that needs addressing is how they handled Precious being sexually assaulted by her dad.  This could have been truly terrifying to see on the screen.  I like that they chose to film it the way they did, with just a few clips of related imagery and then quickly breaking away to Precious’ daydream (which is how she coped).  The assault didn’t get too much screen time (certainly not nearly as much coverage as it did in the book) which helps to cement the idea that this story is really about who Precious is as a person.  She isn’t defined by what happens to and around her.

Which brings us to the actress who played Precious, Gabourey Sidibe.  This young woman did an amazing job playing a very difficult role.  I was convinced that she was Precious.  The range of emotions and situations her role encompassed was rather staggering.

Precious’ mother was a truly despicable character, and I’m blown away by how masterfully Mo’Nique acted out her part.  In particular, I was surprised by her breakdown at the end in front of the social worker.  It helped me to understand her character better, though it still didn’t make me like her any better.  (This was also one of the worst, as in most uncomfortable, scenes I’ve ever had to watch in a movie.  I’m glad that they kept her mother’s sexual assault out of the limelight for almost all of the move.  It was just too much to handle, I felt.)  As a side note, the overly heartfelt and apologetic confession/apology of her mother’s was mostly fabricated for the movie.  Precious never got any such heartfelt apology in the book that would help her gain some closure.  They also prematurely returned Mongo to her, but let’s not split hairs.

There was a bit of free license taken with the movie, but I don’t think any of it materially detracted from the story.  You will still get the same raw, intense story that is folded between the pages of the book.

I would highly suggest that you watch the interviews with Sapphire and the movie’s director in the bonus features to learn more about how this story came to be.  It is eye-opening.

Because of the intense and awful things contained in this story, I recommend it to adults.  Be forewarned–you will be uncomfortable!

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of bad language
  • Violence
  • Sexual assault of a child

Rated: R

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars


Until next time…






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