I am really excited about the release of Precious, a movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Although Precious showed at the Milwaukee Film Fest earlier this fall, I was unable to make it. Precious opens Friday in New York, Chicago, L.A., and Atlanta. It is about a 16 year old girl named Precious who is a black, over-weight, illiterate growing up in Harlem during the 1980’s. The New York Times liked it and Rotten Tomatoes rated it a solid 87% fresh. I mention Precious because it has feminist undertones, as the New York Times said:

There are virtually no men in this movie. Precious’s father is glimpsed briefly in flashbacks of his assaults on her, and in the fantasy sequences that provide escape from her pain Precious hobnobs with handsome boys, but otherwise the only male character of significance is a hospital worker played by Lenny Kravitz. Otherwise, Precious’s cosmos, for better and for worse, is a universe of women: the social worker (Mariah Carey, scrubbed of any vestige of divahood); the teacher, Ms. Rain; her co-worker in the remedial education program, played by the comedian and talk show host Sherri Shepherd; and Precious’s fellow students.

These characters all can be seen as surrogate mothers, aunts and sisters, who together provide Precious with a more functional family (to say the least) than what she has at home. But their love is also enabled by institutions and government policies. An unstated but self-evident moral of “Precious,” set during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and based on a book published in the year of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform, is that government can provide not only a safety net, but also, in small and consequential ways, a lifeline.



6 Responses

  1. I’m really pumped about this film, too. I read an article about it last week (I think in Entertainment Weekly) that predicted Mo’Nique getting an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Precious’ abusive/neglectful mother.

  2. I read the book and am curious to see how they adapted such raw material. To be honest, and I haven’t been able to see it yet either, I’m a little disappointed already to see that they chose a decidedly lighter-skinned Black woman as her teacher, but I am so so so glad that the film is going mainstream because if it’s true to Sapphire’s novel, it will shake people and leave them thinking long after they’ve left the theatre. I’m also lovin’ actress Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) in the media recently – she doesn’t take people’s shit and I hope Precious is just one of many films for her. Check her appearance on Ellen, so great.

    PS: I know Dash was able to see it at the Film Fest (jeal). 🙂

  3. I have (unfortunately, since it gave some of the movie away) read several reviews of the film and most of them say that they got more out of the film than they were expecting. I was skeptical when I heard Mariah Carey was in it. Then I found out Lenny Kravitz was in it and Tyler Perry signed on as an executive producer along with Oprah and I almost signed off the film completely. But indeed, i’m totes jeal. of Dash.

  4. You *should* be totes jeal! This movie was amazing. I’ll go see it again with anyone who wants to. And Mo’nique better get an oscar–she wowed the hell out of me.

  5. I’d be down.

  6. Hi WW,

    Thought you might like this quick review of the movie too


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