Saturday, May 01, 2010

PRECIOUS

I really had no idea what to expect in the movie PRECIOUS (based on blah blah blah by blah blah). They did not send out industry screeners, which explains why it won few guild awards. So the only footage I ever saw from it was the clip they played on the Oscars showing a fat black woman stealing a bucket of fried chicken. From that, I expected a comedy about racial stereotypes.

The first third of the movie actually lived up to that to some extent. Characters appeared to be cliches, and I was distracted by production design that seemed like the wrong period for 1987, including elements from the 60s and 70s as well as a few anachronisms. In addition, the directorial style was all over the place and I was not sure what I was supposed to think about the characters.

Yet as the movie progresses it was almost impossible to avoid sympathy for the main character. The character may have been represented one-dimensionally for much of the movie, but as the movie develops, we learn more back-story that makes a caricature more deep and believable. The performances were pretty astounding, particularly from Mo'Nique, and even from an unrecognizable Mariah Carey.

The movie certainly could have been a lot better. It just ends, with no explanation as to what happened to the character, although I guess the audience of Oprah-watchers already knows what happened. But it was a very moving film nonetheless.
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