Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rare and Essential

"Precious" is not a chore to watch - it's a very engaging, creative, moving story about living and surviving among our cinematically-under-explored underclass, propelled by two powerhouse performances by Mo'nique (below) as an abusive forty-ish welfare mother and Gabourney Sibbide (left) as her dejected, pregnant teenage daughter, Precious.
No, it's not 'feel-good-movie-of-the-year' territory, but it's also unpredictable and is neither the huge downer it could have beenn or a cloying, simplistic, 'public service' movie... This movie wants to understand Precious, and we get inside her inner life and her fantasies and we follow her struggle through a pilot program designed to kick-start her education and her adult life.

Mo'nique will likely walk off with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her brash, corrosive turn as a woman rotting from within.

Known more for her stand-up comedy, sitcom, and talk show gigs, Mo'nique has shattered the entertainment world's expectations and left her competition in the dust.

Gabourney Sibbide's work is necessarily more understated due to the stoic, withdrawn character she's playing, but it's nonetheless snagged a Best Actress nomination on her very first acting job, quite a coup for a newbie.. The supporting cast is crackerjack, notably Mariah Carey's very impressive performance as a thoroughly deglamorized social worker. Also terrific: a soundtrack packed with rare late-60s and 70s soul/funk gems...

Watch the trailer, then see or rent the film...

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