Film Review: Precious

This is possibly the most harrowing, depressing film I have ever watched but I would still very strongly recommend that everyone watches ‘Precious’ at some point.

The reason it is so brilliant is because of the acting and the direction. Both are flawless.

‘Precious’ is about a 16 year old girl, called Precious, and her struggle to make it through her last few teenage years. Her struggle, and the word ‘struggle’ here is a tremendous understatement, is for a number of reasons. I don’t want to give away too much, but it is mainly due to some horrendous abuse she receives at the hands of her family. It is about her fight to break free from this dangerous cycle.

Yes, it is one of those films that takes you on a journey, where you are aware that by the end the main character will have found their way to a happier place than they were in at the beginning of the film.

But the great thing about ‘Precious’ is that it’s realistic. She does find her way, but it is done in a way and she reaches a place that you really hope could be achievable for some people who find themselves in her circumstances in real life.

However, it is exactly this sharp realism which also makes the film so depressing. You are all too aware, at every stage of the film, even the most harrowing moments, that what you are currently watching on the screen is a reality for many across the globe at that very moment.

And the director, Lee Daniels certainly doesn’t try to shield his audience from any of it. I found myself covering my face on at least five occasions. There were actual gasps drawn fro the audience on many others.

One of the biggest surprises in this film is Mariah Carey. She plays the part of a social worker and is only in about three scenes but puts on an incredibly moving, believable performance. Often when you are watching big celebrities on the screen it is cringe-worthy because all you can see is the celebrity and their vanity and so you can’t become embroiled in the actual storyline at all. But Carey immerses herself in this character and quite possibly has breathed a new lease of life into what could be a successful acting career for herself going forward.

The stand out performances though have to be from Precious herself, played by Gabourey Sidibe, who you feel tremendous respect and admiration for, and from Precious’ mother, played by Mo’Nique. I would struggle to find a less likable character in any film in the history of film-making. I think I actually felt more warmth for Matt Damon’s character in ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ than I did for this woman (Damon plays a serial killer in that film). But that is all credit to Mo’Nique’s incredibly powerful performance.

So, do make sure you go and watch this film. Be at the ready with a silly rom com to watch directly afterwards so that you can at least try and escape all of the frightening images you will be left with in your head. But alongside all of the pain you will also be very aware that you have just watched a film that millions will be talking about for many years to come. It has cult classic written all over it.

By Sophie Hudson

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