Saturday, December 05, 2009

“What We Value is PRECIOUS” - The Film Review: by Leette Eaton- White


Precious the film based on the novel Push by Sapphire details the life of a young girl named Precious. Her name is the greatest irony. Precious is what she goes by and yet she is the single most unvalued person you may ever see in a film, or in life.

Some have said the film is gratuitous in its portrayal of a life as bad as the title character's; online users have even referred to it as Poverty Porn (a tool for rich liberals to wallow in their guilt about being rich and enlightened). Precious (as played by Gabourey Sidibe) a severely obese sixteen year old mother of two (she gives birth to her second child in the film) is severely abused physically and sexually by both her parents. Ignorant and self loathing she is in middle school and her principal suggest she enter a special school.

After a racist tirade and verbal abuse by her mother discouraging her to go this special school, Precious chooses to ignore the scolding and go anyway, proving she has some wisdom in spite of her circumstance. There she meets her teacher Ms. Rain (played by Paula Patton), and several classmates, all women, some older, and one a mother. They have come to prepare to receive their GEDs and to start over or start anew. Precious accounts the sexual abuse of by her father and her social worker Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey) is suddenly stunned and at first confused about Precious and her home life.

Throughout the film we see how little public assistance has done for Precious and how it has given her abusive and morally corrupt mother the opportunity to compound her laziness by cheating the system over and over again, pretending to job hunt, and pretending to raise Mongo, Precious's first child who resides with the grandmother. Precious deals with self loathing for her color, her weight, and battles low self esteem throughout the film. The film however, does offer some comic relief.

The girls in Precious's class are outspoken and funny and loyal through and through to the title character. Humorous quips throughout make the serious film durable and sometimes even enjoyable. The last few minutes of the film are probably the most important as Mrs. Weiss finally addresses the abuse going on in the Jones household. Intense and horrifying Monique plays the part brilliantly making you hate Mary Jones more than you did before.

Though the film is filled with turn after turn of sad and disturbing news one thing is consistent. Precious has the inner strength to overcome. In spite of the serious subject matter I recommend the film. Knowing and being related to people who have come out of grave abuse similar to this it is the kind of thing we cannot ignore as a society.

So often we look by and say nothing when we see abuse, choosing instead to sweep it under the rug or ignore its effects altogether. Many times even people witnessing abuse first hand succumb to weakness and refuse all means of help.

If you have seen Precious or plan to keep it in mind and remember that if we don't speak about abuse it doesn't end. For Help call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at

About the Author: Leette Eaton- White is a native New Yorker and a full time student studying Forensic Psychology. She has been a Conservative Republican since 2002, finding her Republican roots at the age of 15. HipHopRepublican opened the gateway for her to start her political activism in urban areas and across the net.Contact -

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