Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Wednesday, Mar 3 2010
In her broad outlines, Claireece Precious Jones, the central figure of director Lee Daniels’s Precious, risks sounding like the epitome of ghetto cliché: an obese, illiterate 16-year-old; physically and psychologically abused by her mother; repeatedly raped by her father. Based on the 1996 bestseller Push by African-American poet Sapphire, Daniels’s film adopts an aesthetic that is often more grotesque than artful, sometimes artfully grotesque, and rarely delivered with less than a sledgehammer thwack. The apartment shared by Precious (newcomer Gabourey Sidibe) and her layabout welfare mother, Mary (Mo’Nique), appears like a Lenox Avenue Grey Gardens, while flashbacks to Precious’s horrifying rapes play like outtakes from an outré blaxploitation farce. Yet the movie still packs a wallop. What Daniels lacks as a craftsman, he makes up for in his willingness to put the lives of black women, worn low by cycles of abuse and defeatism, on the screen with brute-force candor and a lack of sentimentality. A former casting director, Daniels also shows exceptional skill with his actors, a mix of musicians and comedians effectively cast against type, especially the gale-force Mo’Nique, who transforms an ostensibly one-note monster mom into a complex portrait of a psychologically damaged woman, and the magnanimous Sidibe, who carries the alternately exhausting and exhilarating narrative on her formidable shoulders.
Thu., March 4, 7 & 9:20 p.m.; Fri., March 5, 2, 4:20, 7 & 9:20 p.m.; Sat., March 6, 2, 4:20, 7 & 9:20 p.m., 2010

About The Author

Scott Foundas


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"