eePrecious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire is a movie by Lee Daniels based on the novel Push by Sapphire. The movie has enjoyed a rather unexpected international comercial sucess.
This hard-hitting drama follows the life of Clareece P. Jones (or Precious as she likes to be called), an obese, 16 year old, African-American growing up in 1987, Harlem. The movie is harsh, realistic, unrelenting and inspirational. The author Sapphire worked as a teacher in Harlem, so the character Precious is an amalgamation of all the girls the author has known. The movie is dark and gritty with a colour scheme to match. The only form of positivity comes from Precious' class, with a matching colou scheme to portray the levity.
The movie opens with writing in extremely bad English to highlight Precious' illiteracy. The first image is of a red scarf falling from a lamp post underneath a bridge. The colour red is one of the more prominent colours, it blatantly appears in almost every scene. Precious is soon expelled for being pregnant with her second child. We soon find out that Precious is a victim of constant verbal, physical and sexual abuse from her parents and, that both her pregnancies are a result of her father constantly raping her.
The movie quickly follows to Precious being accepted into an alternative school. Here we meet the classmates, other girls who've gone through their own personal hell. We're also introduced to the beacon of hope in the movie, the teacher Ms Blu Rain (played by Paula Patton). Precious soon goes to see a social worker (played by Mariah Carey) in order to try claim welfare. In these sessions we learn how badly Precious has been abused but we can't help but feel inspired by how strong she is.
The movie is mostly linear, with a few flashbacks to when she is abused, to which Daniels decides to graphically portray. Although an interesting technique that Daniels employs is that whenever Precious is being abused we're quickly taken to her imagination, where she imagines herself as a famous popstar instead of an abused teenager.
The film is set in Harlem and never once does it leave. The viewers are subjected to the dirty and unyielding part of New York constantly.
While Mariah Carey's skin colour is debateable there are very few caucasion actors (only three with speaking roles), which perfectly portrays Harlem of this time.
The choice of music is rather ironic, being almost completely dance and hip hop songs from the 80's. The main song "I Can See In Color" is a ballad written and performed by Mary J. Blige is poignantly played as Precious and her mother have a rather graphic and emotional physical showdown.
The cast is strong and well chosen. Precious is played by Gabourey Sidibe, with this being her first on-screen performance she's already nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. The star performance however is by Mo'Nique who plays the abusive mother. The film ends with an emotional showdown between Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey and Gabourey which will bring a tear to the most hardened heart. Daniels employs another technique here. In order to keep the film as realistic as possible he would purposely neglect to tell the cast what was going on. In the final scene, only Mo'Nique knew the script, so the tears of Mariah Carey are very real.
Dark, dirty and gritty this realistic movie will shake you to your core but hopefully leave you feeling inspired.