Precious: A Performance Piece at Best

I can’t speak for most film kids, but I’m still flying high off the buzz from the Oscars. Sure, I don’t take them that seriously especially given how political they’ve been, especially after 2005, but occasionally, they hit the right mark with me. So, I’ve been going over the films in my mind and some could stand a re-watching. One such movie was Precious.

I was admittedly a little shocked after I finished the movie. It’s definitely a powerful movie, but that’s not what I mean. I’m not saying that awards are everything. In fact, I believe quite the opposite, but in this day and age, awards still have clout. That’s why I was so surprised to see that Precious had not only won best supporting actress for Mo’Nique, which was totally warranted, but that it won Best Adapted Screenplay.

I thought the movie was compelling, emotionally engaging at parts, but ultimately inconsistent. The storyline is all over the place. There’s just no decipherable passing of time in the movie which, at certain parts, it’s important to have. This took me out of the movie a little. It may have been that it’s simply emotionally exhausting at times so I was also sort of hoping for it to be over, but it was just all over the place. I recognize that it had to be in order to fit everything in, but it took me out of the world when bombarded with obstacle after obstacle. It just seemed like they were clamoring for more things to keep her down.

This is why I say this, and I do not say it lightly, that Precious is most memorable as a performance piece. Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique are just of the two standout actresses in this piece so it’s understandable that they be hailed for their performances. And yes, I guess it’s true that the material has to be at least somewhat good for them to draw out these performances, but they are the saving graces of this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important that people see this movie for the story it tells and the performances given, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like everything else.

In my personal opinion, the editing is inconsistent. It starts out as a strong and palpable figure in the movie and slowly dwindles as the movie plays out. I felt if it had a more established pace, it certainly wouldn’t have hurt the movie. But honestly, every movie has its flaws, but not every movie has the heart that Precious does. For all intents and purposes, it is a good movie from an acting standpoint and for the story it tells, but it is recognizably the work of a director who is still establishing himself.


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