Sunday, December 13, 2009

She Said: Why He is Wrong About Precious

Sometimes, a movie comes along that truly transports and moves people to a place they have never been to. Perhaps it is to a place they have no knowledge of, or to a place they have knowledge of but have never experienced first hand. Either way, to be transported, to see this place as real and be affected by it, they must have an open heart and a willingness to take the painful trek.

Precious is that transcendent film. However, one must open one's heart to take the journey. There are three main reasons that some (and it is few)critics will not see Precious for the heartbreaking, beautiful genius it is.

1. The "hype" soured the viewing. Sometimes, people love on a film so much that others just cannot go along for fear of "going along for going along sake". What they don't get is that in their "refusal to go along" they are not receptive to the power of the film. I know first hand that my partner, the "he" in this blog went in griping about how "with this much hype, I cannot imagine it can live up to it." He did not take the journey. He stood and watched from the periphery, scouring the film for something to latch on to to prove "the hype" wrong and to prove he is not a "follower."

2. The "hating" on and of Tyler Perry. Sure, it seems that fame has come pretty fast and furiously to Mr. Perry, and the envy among some can taint how a film with his name attached--in any form--is viewed. Make no mistake, although it seems nastily "cute" to write a line comparing Precious to other Perry melodramas, it is inaccurate and too easy of a punch. Lazy, really. Perry helped produce this film because it touched him, it transported him to a world that he knew all too well. That, is the only connection to Perry this film has.

3. The story is "too bleak". A few (scant really)critics--perhaps out of some sort of coping strategy--strive to be at odds with this bleak, harrowing story. They see the endless suffering as pointless, annoying, and melodramatic instead of realistic. The triumph of Precious is that for those who take the journey and begin to truly see the movie's protagonist and her plight, they witness the grim story as vibrant, honest, and real. If the "he" from this blog had ever read more than a few words by Richard Wright or Alice Walker, he would believe that both authors know Precious--she is afterall, a modern day Celie. He would see that these literary greats would embrace the film as a celebration of human courage in the face dismal circumstance.

Precious is more than an important film. I would argue it is groundbreaking. Films today rarely give us a glimpse into the lives of "others." Often, they are just re-hashes of the same angst-ridden white male who-hates-his-lot-in-life. Boo-hoo, you have to fire many people. Boo-hoo, the girl of your dreams never loved you back. Boo-hoo, you learned too late that being a cad means you may live alone. Or, we are met in the cineplexes with "serious-minded" history lesson movies revolving around important men and how they triumphed through adversity. Yada, yada, yada.

In Precious, we hear, we see, we witness another life, another story, another truth. For a few short hours, we--those who are open to the journey--live a "her" life. And hers is full of power, resonance, and humanity. What could be more magical or world-changing than that?

1 comment:

J McKiernan said...

I stand by my thoughts. I like a lot about the film. I love a few things about the film, namely the spare moments of narration in which Precious speaks directly to the audience -- it is the one element in the film that feels truly psychically linked to the novel.

A film that works on all levels in the way Precious should, in my opinion, is Maria Full of Grace. Different setting but same type of inspirational story in the face of horrific circumstances. But that film felt tougher, in a spite of how obviously brutal Precious is. More honest. And its lack of sentimentality made it all the more moving in my view.