I have multiple rivers of thought in the aftermath of watching Precious, the Lee Daniels directed movie starring Academy Award winner Gabourey Sidibe. The main river flows by memories of the people in my life who have been victims of abuse--spousal, filial, parental and otherwise. Another river flows through a truth in motion pictures that often less is more. Yet another turbulent stream attempts to carve out a picture of the circumstances that brought this incredible ensemble of actors together to craft this film adaptation of Push, a novel by Sapphire.
Precious is an obese 16-year-old girl, pregnant by her father for the second time and living with an abusive mother. She is given an opportunity to move from public school to an alternative school and in this new learning environment, discovers that she is everything her mother says she is not.
How do young people push through the icy and painful waters of sexual, physical and mental abuse? Precious creates an alternate universe where she is slim, blond, beautiful and revered. In the worst moments, she drifts off to the eddies of her mind for protection from the relentless current.
Heather and I drifted off to sleep cocooned in appreciation for the love, nurturing and warmth we have been given in our lives, and that we've been able to pass along to our children. I'm thoughtful for those who shall remain nameless who have not been so fortunate.
Gabourey Sidibe came out of nowhere to star in this film, responding to an audition call for squeaks and giggles, perhaps wanting to avoid the drone of college homework, perhaps wanting to scratch an itch leftover from performing in school plays as a kid. Her understated performance--often stone-cold quiet, still, deep--is completely compelling and absolutely believable. She is Precious. I love films that use the less is more approach and Precious is among the best of these.
The collection of actors and personalities that form the fabric of Precious is intricate, tightly woven and inspired. Mo'Nique is a seasoned actress and comedienne who played the torturous mother is this movie. Profoundly disturbing, hauntingly disturbed, Mo'Nique's supporting performance rightfully earned her the Academy Award. The scene when she deconstructs the mansion of hatred she built toward her daughter is unforgettable.
Heather and I were both shocked to find out this morning that the role of Mrs. Weiss, the social worker, was played by Mariah Carey. Again, this is a startling performance that shows both the depth of character of the actress and the ability of the director to inspire incomparable truth in front of the camera.
Your personal experiences, the people who populate your memories, and your exposure to or experience with abuse, will dictate your reaction to Precious. It demands a response, a rocking of your soul, a whirlpool that takes you down to the depths of memory, to circumstances long forgotten on the ocean floor of your heart.
May 23, 2010 - 192.6 pounds, 28.5% body fat