Precious Film Review by Sam

Let’s just say that I was fairly neutral about this film when walking into the cinema. I had heard of its critical acclaim, particularly noting the performances of all the actors, but I had also heard some poor reviews from people I know that had seen it. So I decided to go in with an open mind.

Precious Poster

Lee Daniels

Director, Lee Daniels focuses too much on cliché

For the first half of this film, the only thing running through my mind was the word – cliché. Yes, I know that sentence itself was kind of cliché, but hey, what is a guy to do? This entire portion of the film looked as if the director, Lee Daniels had gotten out a notepad, written down all the features of the Best Picture winners at the Oscars for the last decade, and included them in his film. We had cheesy model shoot montages that reminded me of a Michael Jackson music video clip, as well as the typical hand-held, close-up, zooming in and out cinematography that we see all too often these days. The editing felt way too overdone, especially the use of the jump cut, which felt too over-the-top, and unnecessary.

In addition to this, the story took some time to get into, as it developed very slowly at the beginning. It felt as if Daniels was trying too hard to inflict emotion within the audience, and forgot to put any focus onto the story or even the characters.

Now, aside from the first half of the film, I believe the makers semi-successfully achieved what they were trying to. What were they trying to achieve I hear you ask? Well, in my opinion, I believe that they were trying to open the eyes of the audience members – and confront them with a serious issue whilst evoking an incredible amount of emotion at the same time.

Mo'Nique in Precious

Mo'Nique delivers a stellar performance

The highlight of this film was, indeed the performances. Our protagonist, Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones; was played almost flawlessly by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe – who garnered herself with an Oscar nomination for her debut performance – a rare feat. She played her character well, and is convincing as a 16-year-old mother that has undergone tremendous hardships in her life. The opening scenes felt a little wooden from Sidibe, and I was fearful that I was going to struggle to watch her performance. But this was quickly corrected, and she delivered a stellar performance. The there was Mo’Nique. Well, what can I say? Even with all the hype surrounding her performance, I was still utterly impressed. She nailed the part of an abusive mother with no mercy on her child. She made me hate her character, and then made me feel some sort of sympathy for her character. If I was rating this film based on her performance, I would have given it 5 film reels, no question.

But, I’m not.

Yes, there were elements of the film that had me quite sad, depressed almost, and the latter part of the story was executed well, and had me wanting to know the outcome of each character, but had Lee Daniels avoided that first hour or so of clichés and dull story-telling, he would have had me convinced.

I give it 2.5 film reels.

2.5 Film Reels

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