Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire


I’m gonna break through, or someone’s gonna break through to me.

Okay, first off, it took a long, long time for me to get over the deliberate “uniqueness” of the names of the characters, specifically that the main character’s middle name was actually Precious. This isn’t a human thing, this was a specific decision on the part of the author, though seeing as the author goes by the equally “unique” name Sapphire I can see where this comes from, even if I don’t condone it. Really, there was a lot about this film that I couldn’t condone, mostly the stylistic choices on the part of the director, Lee Daniels. The film seemed like it would often make the correct decision, but right before it would, something else would happen that would take me out of the movie entirely.

Everything, from the editing style to the camerawork to the shot composition to even the visual effects used in the film was just… wrong. That’s all I felt about it. The camera was always wavering, always awkwardly zooming in at weird moments, and this got really annoying and intrusive at times. The film would often stop and freeze frame at completely random points, and would use effects shots as transitions when they only made the movie feel cheap. Even the audio is over-stylized to the point of absurdity; the voiceover would often interrupt and talk over the dialogue of the film, as if the whole thing just went unplanned. It was all just so… annoying, everything the film did. The one thing I did enjoy was the acting; the acting all around was stellar, from just about everyone involved. More has been said about the acting than I have time to say here, but I just wanted to mention that as the one thing I found exemplary across the board, from all the named actors and actresses.

Sure, the story is raw, emotional, and inspiring, but no more so than hundreds of other raw and emotional and inspiring stories that have been told in other films that are way more held together than this one was. Aside from the acting, there was just nothing this did that seemed to be in any way right for me; even the way the movie ended rubbed me the wrong way, though the final scene in Ms. Weiss’s office was by far the best in the whole thing, mostly thanks to Mo’Nique, who well deserved her Oscar for this. But I digress; I don’t know why or how this got nominated for Best Picture, and especially for Best Director – this was just a mess, plain and simple, under the guise of being ingeniously stylish. I gave it points for the acting, but little else; this film was barely a finished product to me, and I just couldn’t get over it no matter how hard I tried.

Arbitrary Rating: 5/10*

*I was really torn about whether to give this a 6 or a 5; it’s a 5 regardless, but I didn’t want to discount the acting that much, so extra note here.


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