Precious (Lee Daniels Entertainment)
1. The synopsis: A morbidly obese teenager from Harlem is pregnant with her second child. (Both of her children were fathered by her own father, the first of which was born with Down’s syndrome.) She’s poor, illiterate, and constantly on the receiving end of a terribly abusive relationship with her mother. And it only gets worse from there. To be read: This is not a date movie!
2. There’s a lot of chatter about the performances of Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, culminating in speculation that they might even get an Oscar nod for them. While their performances were good (Carey as a social worker, Kravitz as a nurse), there is nothing about them that stands out as being anything but. The Oscar whisper exists not because the performances are amazing, but because the people who brought these characters to life aren’t actors. If the roles had been filled by actors, the point would be moot.
3. The brutality of the film is juxtaposed with elements of fantasy, similar to those in “Amelie”: colorful dream sequences, photographs coming to life, etc. Used as moments of escapism, these scenes actually made the viciousness of the film appear worse, mostly because we’re given a different reality to compare it to. It was exceptionally effective.
4. In addition to the production Oscar nominations that “Precious” will receive (and well deserves), I predict three acting nominations for Gabourey Sidibe (lead), Paula Patton and Mo’Nique (both supporting). And, unless an amazingly stellar performance hits screens in the next few weeks, Mo’Nique will win an Oscar for her role as Precious’ abusive and mentally deranged mother, and will have earned every ounce of that statue. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.
5. One of my top-five films of the year, and different from anything else on the list. Look for more from director Lee Daniels and writer Geoffrey Fletcher (who adapted the screenplay from author Sapphire’s book, Push) in the very near future, because Hollywood is about to go completely bat-shit for the both of them.
Check out the trailer here: