Saturday, January 09, 2010


Written by: Geoffrey Fletcher

Starring: Gaby Sidibe, Mo'nique, Paula Patton

My Rating: 2/10

While watching Precious, I was entertained. I felt that the plot was involving and that, although it was a bit cheesy, it was a decent enough flick that felt somewhat like a TV movie. However, after mulling it over in the coming hours I began to feel angry at its audacity and its nastiness.

The plot revolves around a 16 year old, overweight, black girl, Precious, who is abused by her stepmother, raped by her father and marginalised by society. Her rape resulted in a down-syndrome daughter and now, another pregnancy. To top things off, she's just been diagnosed as HIV positive.

The story is almost unbearably sad. What bothered me about it is the way in which the filmmakers revel in the abject horror of Precious' life. Particularly, the way they portray food, Precious' body and the almost comically OTT abuse from her stepmother. It struck me that they are not respectfully telling this story, they are making this as difficult to sit through as a Saw movie. This is not a true story, it is a work of fiction. So, basically, a writer sat down and wrote a list of the most awful, horrible things a person can endure then made a film about it. There is no emotional resonance to that. There is no tragedy in that. It is torture porn in the guise of social comment. Most insulting is the "happy ending. No spoilers here but I hate to break it to y'all but there's no happy endings with HIV! A HIV positive teenager with two children, one with special needs, the other presumably HIV positive. No job, no prospects. Where's the "happy" in that?? Oh, she learned to read. Congratulations!

The film does boast some great central performances by Gaby Sidibe and Mo'nique and the climactic showdown between mother, daughter and therapist is disturbing and powerful. However, something tells me the hysteria in the US won't fly this side of the water. Don't bother, unless you're desperate for a weepie.

- Charlene Lydon

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