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In the final scenes, Precious confronts her mother in a family counseling session. She aspires to raise two children on public assistance until she graduates from college, while she concurrently battles AIDS.Questioned about Precious’s abuse, Mary Jones delusionally pleads that she had to allow Precious’s rape by her father or else, “Who was gonna love me? In most, if not all these ambitions, she will probably fail.
Though Precious has won numerous awards and received Oscar nominations, many favorable reviews in the popular press have been characterized by a certain vagueness—as if reviewers have been hedging their bets, complimenting the film less out of enthusiasm than guilt, discomfort, or obligation.
The film is too dark to permit reviewers to easily write off enjoying it, too explosive to permit any responsible critic to ignore it.
The movie has thus far been an artful tapestry of a young girls’ memories of sexual abuse, her fights at home, her vivid fantasy life (Precious fantasizes about being white and blonde or having the charmed life of a celebrity) and her burgeoning self-awareness that she is a valuable individual who has been victimized. Rain has helped her aspire toward middle-class respectability, Precious learns that her social program isn’t college-preparatory.
It’s a workfare program that will enable her to become a fulltime nanny, at best. Precious learns that her father’s molestations have left her with the AIDS virus.
Precious is a depressed and abused sixteen years old, and Sidbe looks the part.
There she goes—in a movie poster that achieves a certain shock effect merely by brandishing Sidibie’s unfamiliar presence: sulky, head lowered, sneakers oversized.
This will certainly be the case with Daniels’s visualization of the lead character of Sapphire’s novel—Claireece Precious Jones, who is portrayed (unforgettably) by Gabourey Sidibe.
Harking back to the tradition of neorealist filmmakers like Vittorio De Sica (whose film Two Women is knowingly snippetted in Precious), Daniels cast an unknown with no professional acting experience. She mumbles, reluctantly makes eye contact, displays little expression and even less vocal dexterity.
If the film is a major success, the cinematic visualization may become so dominant that the reader of the novel will lose the capacity to imagine the story.
Staring at the written word, you will see the screen adaptation.