Saturday, December 05, 2009

Unlocking The Gates of Hell: A Film Review of Precious


Until quite recently, I was an Instructor in a New York City based GED Program. I worked my way up in the organization from a Teacher to an Administrator. The students in our program were between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five years old; low-income; and HIV positive. Many of our students were Gay with some of them being Transgender. Often, the students in our program had previously done time in prison.

All of the students in the program where I worked, however, as The Dean of Student Affairs and of Academic Instruction wanted more out of life than they had, so they worked hard to achieve the equivalent of their high school diplomas. My colleagues, all of them, wanted nothing more than their students' success. I was appalled, consequently, by the attitude of most of the adults towards Precious, including those adults representing the Educational System, in the film entitled Precious starring Gabourney Sidibe, Monique, Mariah Carey, and Paula Patton.

In Precious, Sidibe portrays a sixteen/seventeen year old girl who is pregnant, for the second time, with her father's child. Unlike the victims of incest who manifest an Electra complex (An Electra complex is one in which the young girl romantically desires her father.) Precious is the victim of repeated rapes. Not only is she the victim of repeated rapes by her HIV-positive father, but she is also, throughout her life in the film, on every level, but particularly on a mental and on a physical level, abused by her crack-addicted mother. This film is no Juno in which the adults surrounding Juno supported the teenager as she went through her pregnancy. At almost every turn, the adults in Precious are far too willing and able to call Precious names with their most common taunt consisting of the fact that Precious, weighing three hundred pounds, is too big. Precious is also frequently called stupid.

Precious, despite the fact that she has been passed from one grade level to another with good grades, cannot read. Although she is recognized by her Math Teacher as being gifted in Math, the principal of the High School where she is a student callously suspends Precious from the school because of her pregnancies which Precious has no control over. Her expulsion from a deaf, dumb, and blind educational institution, however, is Precious salvation because it leads her to become enrolled in an alternative education program called "Each One-Teach One" in which a caring adult and GED Instructor, competently played by actress Paula Patton, unlocks the hell which Precious has been trapped in. Eventually, Precious is counseled by a Social Worker played by Mariah Carey, who also helps to unlock the gates of the hell which Precious is trapped inside of.

In the film, which is expertly directed and produced by Lee Daniels who possesses leading man good looks himself and who also directed Halle Berry in Monster's Ball, Precious escapes to a world of fantasy when the cycle of abuse becomes too severe for her to stand. Oprah Winfrey is also a producer in this powerful adaption of the novel named Push by Sapphire. Precious, like Notorious before it, has Academy Award ( Oscar) written all over it! For not only is the screenplay exceptional and the direction outstanding, but the performances are also equally outstanding particularly those by Gabourney Sidibe , Monique, Mariah Carey and Paula Patton. Don't miss this exceptionally good film. Bring a handkerchief with you, however, if you are prone to tears. If you are not prone to tears you may cry anyway.

On a scale of from one to twelve roses I give to Precious a thirteen

About The Author: Cleo E. Brown has a Master's Degree in Contemporary African-American History from The University of California at Davis in Davis, California. She also has a B.A. Minor Degree in Political-Science and has completed course work towards a Ph.D. in Education from The University of San Francisco in San Francisco, California. She is a Free Lance Writer and a Senior Editor at HHR.

1 comment:

Jenks said...

Hadn't heard of Precious before I saw your post. I'm sold! Will go check it out. Great review.