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DECEMBER 4, 2009   


Close-up of Precious  from the movieIt's brutal at times. More than once during the movie Precious I flinched at what happened on screen. But take it from someone who is a total wimp when it comes to tolerating movie violence: this is worth it.

The world of Precious isn't pretty. The language is crude, the surroundings depressing, whether the streets of Harlem or the welfare office. But somehow Precious survives all this.

The final scene is the most powerful I've seen in years, and caught me off guard. I really wasn't ready for the lights to come up and the credits to roll. Then, strangely enough, the credits listing the director, producers, actors, etc. flashed on the screen so briefly that you couldn't read them.

I mentioned this to the theater manager on the way out and he agreed. Said he'd contacted the film's distributors to ask, but hadn't gotten a reply. I'm wondering if this was deliberate to keep you thinking about the world of the film rather than the "real" world of film production.

I've been Googling this question with no success. I did find a review in a British publication that tells a bit of movie's backstory.

Until I found the credits online I never realized that the social worker was played by Mariah Carey, one of my very least favorite celebrities. She did a great job. All of the acting, including Mo'Nique as the mother, Lenny Kravitz as a maternity nurse, and of course Gabourey Sidibe as Precious, is terrific.

The director, Lee Daniels, was somehow able to show the lives of people who are neither attractive nor admirable in any conventional terms without turning them into stereotypes. I was amazed when at one point I found myself tearing up listening to the mother describe her life. Until then I'd seen her as a terrible person with no redeeming qualities.

The movie's tagline sums it up well: Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious.

Best movie I've seen in ages. Here's a taste of it: Precious movie trailer.

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