2009-12-04 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

'Precious' - Abuse That Knows No Bounds
By Robert Snyder

The devastating depiction of paren - tal abuse portrayed in the film, "Pre - cious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," resonates with a recent lead story in The Wave, "Max Sentence In Mutilation Slay" (11/13/09).

Both are about female children re - peatedly raped by their fathers. The dif ference is that in the real story the victim takes action, suffocates her father, cuts off his "weapon" and boils it, so that "he couldn't use it again."

Sixteen-year-old, 350-pound Clair - eece "Precious" Jones (newcomer Gab - ou rey Sidibe) is not so re source ful. Trud ging from her dark, depressing apartment, which she shares with her monstrous mother, Mary (Mo'Nique), to school and back, Precious buries the pain deep inside, where she also grows her second baby, her second baby conceived by her absentee father.

While brilliant in math from managing the welfare money for her do-nothing mother, she is almost illiterate and must struggle through the alphabet. We discover this after she is placed in an Alternative School, where a future begins to unfold under the magical influence of teacher Ms. Rein (Paula Patton) and the company of a motley crew of other sympathetic young screw-ups.

The performances are so good, they don't even seem like performances. We'll be seeing Sidibe and Mo'Nique at Oscar time, but watch closely for ap - pearances by Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and Sherri Shepherd in stark reality modes.

Directed with deep feeling and artful flourishes by Lee Daniels, "Precious" is a break-though movie in many ways.

Looking inside the mind of the type of teen most people tend to ignore, Daniels shows a hidden world of color and imagination, only to be demolished under Mary's brutal attacks.

Rather than lash back with equal violence, Precious finds a different outlet for her voice: She writes, and her self-esteem blossoms.

It is a revelation that is, indeed, precious.

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