Friday, 2 April 2010
50 year old, wild haired, Lee Daniels best known for producing Monsters Ball (2001) and The Woodsman has now directed one of the most impressive films of 2009, to give it its full title, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The film has been adapted from the best selling 1996 novel by Ramona Lofton a writer and performance poet who styles herself Sapphire. Set in Harlem in 1987 it’s the story of Claireece ‘Precious’ Jones an obese 16-year-old illiterate black girl who is abused emotionally and physically by her mother and has a daughter with Downs’s syndrome by her father. He constantly rapes her with her mother’s knowledge and she is now pregnant by him again. Precious gets a chance to transfer to an alternative school which offers the chance to change her life around. The film marks the superb acting debut of Gabourey Sidibe who plays the very likable lead character Precious. Mary Lee Johnston, Precious verbal and abusive mother, is played by Mo’Nique who won an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. Paula Patton (Déjà Vue 2006) plays the brilliantly named alternative school teacher Ms Blu Rain. Daniels also cast two well known American singers in major roles, Mariah Carey as a social worker and Lenny Kravitz as a male nurse who befriends Precious. It’s a very powerful and at times, shocking experience, tough to watch but ultimately very rewarding and surprisingly uplifting considering the subject matter. It gives a glimpse of a world we would probably refer to pretend does not exist. The final showdown between Precious and her mother is a tremendous example of acting at its best. It’s almost a crime not to see this film. The DVD will be available from the 24th May 2010.