Thursday, November 19, 2009

Passing On 'Precious'


I'm not going to see "Precious."

Back in the '90s, I knew several people who had read (or attempted to read) "Push," the novel "Precious" is based on. To be fair, I'm one of those people who can't stomach stories, real or imagined, about child abuse. Reviews and word of mouth convinced me that I was the wrong audience for a story about a morbidly obese girl who is repeatedly raped by her father, impregnated with his children, and subjected to depraved acts at her mother's hand. It's not that I didn't know those things happened (I was a newspaper reporter, after all), but I had zero desire to be immersed in that world in my down time.

The Washington Post's Courtland Milloy said it better than I can, but I just don't see the value in watching this hellish story play out on the big screen. I'm all for tackling hard truths through art, but I have a hard time believing that "Precious" will do anything to make a difference in the lives of real-life abuse victims. Plus, there's something deeply grating about the idea of a privileged film festival audience seeing this movie and gasping, "How powerful! I had no idea this world of ghetto tragedy existed!"

There's a valid argument that "Precious" represents a thoughtful alternative to movies about African-American men dressed in drag and adaptations of ham-fisted stage plays. (Irony! Tyler Perry is one of the big names promoting "Precious.") But are those my only choices if I want to see a movie with more than two black people in it?

Sorry, Oprah. I can't go down this road with you.

11 comments:

Betsy said...

Yeah, this sounds like the most heart wrenching,, saddest movie of all time. Life is hard enough! Good post, friend.

EDP said...

Thank you, dear! This movie looks like the downer of the decade.

Christina said...

You know, I know we "rate" movies all the time that we haven't seen, but, I don't know...I just feel a strong desire to see this movie. I don't know if it's really fair to cast it as a movie that is *entirely* a downer when I'm pretty sure there's more to it than that. There's more to life besides ghetto agony, true. But there's plenty of movies where the protagonist goes through extremely difficult circumstances.

I'm just wondering why this one seems to have people really wringing their hands and wishing it could be more positive. I read "The Road" by Cormac MacCarthy (soon to be a movie) and trust me, it is hugely depressing and I'm sure the movie will be, too, if it follows the book at all. But I don't see people saying that The Road "should" be more uplifting. It is the story that writer wanted to tell.

Christina said...

Add: If nothing else, this reaction will keep me humble the next time a new Madea movie comes out! :\ I feel as if the criticism of this movie is not just of the work itself, but of people who have felt moved by it, and I don't think that's fair. And I realize it hasn't been fair the many times when I've judged someone the same way.

EDP said...

There may well be a big class issue at work here, and I am the first to admit that I just can't handle child abuse films. It may well be very powerful, but I'm avoiding it for the same reason I probably won't see "The Road:" I'm kind of a wuss. It's also probably unfair to judge something I haven't seen, but ... I just have to sit this one out, girl.

carlyndowdle said...

.............................................

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知道 said...

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c8e88596-556e-11e0-901e-000f20980440 said...

Sounds sad alright.

c8e88596-556e-11e0-901e-000f20980440 said...

Sounds sad all right.