After a long weekend of avoiding any progress while simultaneously putting off my homework and pressing scholarship applications, I finally finished one film in order to save these last few days from being a total waste. However, this only happened after I made it past the longest day I've experienced in quite some time. I hustled through the opening shift at the ice cream shop where I work, sped home for my brother's and sister's confirmation (Catholics, anyone??) barbecue, jumped back in the car to return for the closing shift at the shop, stumbled out to look for a dress to wear to tomorrow night's ceremony (no luck), and made it back home just in time to be too late to get a good night's sleep (or any, for that matter) and still get everything on my rambling list done. Not that anyone should care about all that rushing around...I'd just like the world to know what I had to go through today to get to my next installment on the Best Picture Challenge List.
Wow. That's the first word I could form after sitting through Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" By Sapphire (2009), a gut-wrenchingly depressing movie about incest, AIDS, illiteracy, inner-city violence, abject poverty, and all sorts of other wonderful little subjects that leave tiny little holes in my heart every time I remember that they exist. To think that this movie could be based on a true story is truly unthinkable to me...I was choking back sobs and praying for a rainbow to emerge from this storm-cloud story all the way to the closing credits. Well guess what (spoiler alert!): there isn't much of a rainbow here. You could probably count all the smiles in the whole movie on just one of your hands (even if you were missing fingers).
And I have a real beef with the back of this DVD case, which blatantly lied to me: it had "IRRESISTIBLY INSPIRATIONAL!" printed in all caps across the top of it, as if all the critics in the world concurred that this was the feel-good flick of the year. Um, excuse me, world? The only thing this movie inspires me to do is kill myself. The DVD case's string of lies continued when it described the film as a story of "revelation and celebration". I don't recall any miraculous revelations in this wrist-slitting festival...I pretty much knew that Precious' life brutally sucked from start to finish. And what exactly are we celebrating here? The fact that our teenage hero is going to die from AIDS in the very near future and leave two innocent little children homeless on the Harlem streets while her pathetic old mother shrivels up and dies in her moldy apartment? You're right, DVD case, that's a real party right there. Thanks for tricking me into watching the most horrifically sad movie I've ever had to see.
Even though the movie itself encourages self-mutilation, the performances that shape it are brilliant. Mo'Nique stands out the most in the villainous role that won her last year's Best Supporting Actress...and gurrrrl, did she deserve that award. I hardly recognized her underneath all the cornrows and Ebonics. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe pulls off the perfect Precious, evoking both overwhelming pity and fierce admiration from a tearful audience. Even Mariah Carey turns out to be good, which might have been the biggest surprise of all. In this movie, just being able to share a frame with Mo'Nique in all her sobbing, jiggling glory without melting into a sticky puddle is quite the accomplishment. So way to go, Mimi.