Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Blu-ray)
I’ve never really been a fan of dramas and/or films that make you want to jump off a bridge and hope to catch an eyelid on a rusty nail before you hit the ground. To me, PRECIOUS reeked of ominous misery from the trailers and low and behold, the picture it paints is by no means pretty. Right off the bat you have a disturbing chain of events that start out far too early in this kid’s life, which make her tragic tale one that made me wince far too often. For some, this may be the longest 109 minutes of your life.
My particular distaste here comes from the subject matter. Rape, child abuse and domestic violence are a volatile mixture, and one that doesn’t ever go down smooth. I genuinely feel for Precious’ character here, but my personal complaint stems from the fact that many people endure these things in life and the idea of having them printed on paper or filmed just doesn’t set right with me. These problems are far too real to be taken lightly, even if the film is geared toward giving victims of these types of abuse hope. Furthermore, when I see these types of things happening on screen I think back to flicks like Paul Walker’s RUNNING SCARED where this type of behaviour was solved by shooting the perpetrators in the face. Now that’s my brand of justice.
The one aspect of this film I truly enjoyed was the raw strength Precious held onto despite the odds and her horrible situation. There is something to be said about that, and if I had to sum this film up in a word it would be strength. Sadly, there’s far too much else going on to focus on this alone, my emotions were a tangled mess leaving me ultimately troubled. Some of this confusion was brought on by a particularly awkward score that (like my emotions) was all over the place. Some of these songs (matched up with the wants and dreams of a kid who wished she was someone else) felt wrong and in the end played a serious number on the film’s tone.
I’m not at all surprised to see Oscar winners among the cast (especially from Monique and Gabourey Sidibe) as their portrayals were certainly believable and moving in a uniquely shocking way. However, when several musical sensations all appear in the same cast roster it does tend to raise a flag or two for me. Nothing against Mariah Cary or Lenny Kravitz but they stuck out like sore thumbs and for the amount of lines and screen time (which was thankfully not much) I just don’t see the point of them being a part of this unless it was a vain attempt at rekindling hurting careers.
PRECIOUS was a lot of things, but a fun night at the movies is definitely not among them. I understand that drama gives actors and actresses a venue to really push themselves emotionally so they can show us another side of things, but these are not areas I want to explore in film. There’s enough pain and anguish in life to go around, so when I go to the movies I’m one of those people who likes an escape from reality, not a depressing reminder of how messed up the world truly is.
Video: 1.85:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec. Nothing too plush visually as most of the film takes place in an apartment and a classroom.
Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD in English, French and Spanish with the same subtitle options. Nothing wrong with the audio, though the verbal abuse is hard to listen to at times.
Commentary with Lee Daniels: The director walks us through the film and you can tell that even he is a bit shaken by some of the more graphic content. Can’t say I blame him really.
From Push to Precious (15:22): “Push” author Sapphire gives us some details pertaining to her own life experiences as well as a look into the mindset of the story.
A Precious Ensemble (18:32): Here the producer tells us that the key to this film was finding the right actress to play Precious and how incredibly hard the task turned out to be.
Oprah and Tyler: A Project of Passion (9:31): A look into what pulled Oprah and Tyler Perry into the project. Oprah I get, but this was a little different for Perry.
A Conversation with Author Sapphire and Director Lee Daniels (8:27): This plays out like an ass kissing contest between the two, so much so that it feels rather fake.
Audition: Gabourey Sidibe (2:33): Here we get a brief two minute peek at a clip from Gabourey’s Precious audition. She didn’t even look nervous.
Deleted Scene (1:45): The Incest Survivor Meeting: No need to explain why they cut this one, the title pretty much says it all. No need to beat a dead horse.
Reflections on Precious (0:43): Director Lee Daniels and actress’ Gabourey Sidibe and Paula Patton throw down about the film and as you can imagine it’s all good across the board.
Previews: We a theatrical trailer as well as a handful of other trailers for upcoming Lionsgate features.