Saturday, February 6, 2010

more of a response than a review

I didn't blog yesterday. I had good reasons! My computer was being crabby, and I was a bit exhausted.

Yesterday though, I went to see Precious

It broke my heart.

I knew it was going to, and that made it worse.

I don't want to write too much about the story line of the film, but the basic story line is such: Clareese Precious Jones is 16, pregnant with her second child by her father, abused by her mother. She lives in Harlem, and gets the chance to go to an alternative school and really learn.

There is always something weird about saying I "liked"/"enjoyed" a movie like Precious. It's a horrible story, it's bleak, it's humanity at its worst. But it was one of the best films I have ever seen. ever. It was perfectly acted, perfectly filmed, perfectly scored. Gabourey Sidibe as Precious was radiant, devastating. Paula Patton as her teacher Ms Rain was so patient, so gentle. Mariah Carey was so so so not Mariah Carey like, and made me cry when I thought I'd run out of tears. And Mo'Nique was fucking terrifying and heartbreaking. They all deserve Academy Awards.

Any film that deals with violence, rape and poverty risks being a caricatured farce. any actor that attempts these things risks being a caricature, not a character. We laugh when we're uncomfortable, and any movie that attempts to deal with the things Precious deals with risks that. I think that's what I was most worried about in seeing this film. But there was none of that. Not once did I want to laugh at Precious. I laughed with her, and I cried with her, for her. I was terrified of her mother to the point of physically curling in on myself every time she was on screen. There was nothing funny about any of the violence or sexual abuse, just dull bile on the back of my tongue.

This is not a comfortable film or a sentimental film, despite the basic undertone that anything is possible. This is a film about doing things yourself, putting yourself first. It's quite possibly one of the most important films I've ever seen. I could talk like the women who sat behind me* about how lucky I am, how lucky Precious was to get a chance to turn her life around. I could be all colonial and talk about skin colour, except making assumptions based on skin colour is the stupidest thing ever. But what I want to say is that I know people like Precious are worth the effort. Most humans, apart from politicians, are worth the effort. We forget that. We get comfortable, and then we talk about how there shouldn't be movies that make us uncomfortable. That's bullshit. You need to feel uncomfortable every now and then, even if it only makes you feel lucky. But, if like me, you feel the need to do something, then you can get off your fat behind and donate some time, some money, a smile, to making everyone feel loved, to making everyone feel precious.

*if there is a god, please don't let me turn into an abominable lady who lunches and talks through movies about carpet.

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