Precious: Brutal New Classic or African-American Bruno?

Comments

2
thank you, i found this helpful.
3
Some people are still locked in that "uplift the race" thinking, instead of wanting to tell the truth. Sometimes a bucket of fried chicken is just a bucket of fried chicken.
4
it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.


Is he talking about movies made FOR black audiences? Because those movies, by and large, suck. They can suck because the target audience is so desperate for any movies about themselves, they'll go see anything. Or are we supposed to believe that LL Cool J is an auteur? This is also the same reason why movies about gays generally suck.
5
@3: I tend to agree.
6
Mo'Nique explains it simply, if in the end the movie rings true to the obstacles facedby the women presented in the movie and how they time and time again have risen to the occasion regardless, then movie will make honor to the title. By the same token, there's also truth in what Mr. White is stating because this film won't be solely seen by the community so there exists the very real potential for the message of the film being lost to white America and those who thrive in racist stereotypes to cast generalized aspersions against black youth. In that context i would rather see Precious shown in the communities that its message needs to be seen and heard instead of those in which the film will just be seen at best, as a window into a world with which they have no connection or knowledge or interest about the in depth realities, struggles and triumphs that happen there on a daily basis.
7
Gee I wonder what Bill Cosby thinks...NOT! If you have not walked a mile in another person's..., well you know the saying. This is a girl that is blurple, a very dark black girl and that just scares anyone not as dark as her. What a bunch of racist idiots, "No I am not a racist cause I like Will Smith with his Mocha coloring and he doesn’t scare me" Bunch of ignorant Oreo cookies and honkies!!!
8
Case in example of the downside or better put the type of people Mr. White and Mr. Milloy were warning about: @3
9
@6: So you'd attach a sign reading "Blacks only" at the entrances to theatres showing this film? Is that what you're suggesting? May I drink from the water fountain or is that race restricted too?
10
@8, Oh no you dint!
11
@6 & 8: Oh, and HI DAN! It's sock puppet time again I see.
12
Wow, Armond White actually uses the derogatory term "bourgie" in his article.
13
Milloy would rather see a movie about a person beating the odds... by becoming an entertainer? Sorry, but that type of drivel is one of the most damaging cliches in Hollywood .

14
@11

I am currently thinking that Loveschild is not anyone at the Stranger, but is in fact Pastor Hutchinson himself masquerading.
15
I saw a SIFF screening of this a few weeks back, and as a white guy, I had a really hard time deciding what to think about it. It was almost like any opionin I could have would be discounted or misconstrued based on my race.

I generally feel this way about Perry's movie--that it wasn't meant or intended for white folk. But Precious indeed seemed different. It was hard to like and sit through, but right or wrong, it was a powerful movie.

ddv
16
Loveschild, you do more damage to the image and reputations of Black Americans than all the Preciouses in all the world. You have turned a theology of hope into a theology of hate and fear. You're Lester Maddox's Dream Nigger, the black church lady who, contrary to the fears of the sixties segregationists, turned out to be just as interested in keeping people down as the most hateful pig with a water cannon.
17
13: Plus, they already made that movie. It's called Glitter,
18
I haven't seen the movie, but my prejudgment leads me to wonder if this film isn't the 2009 version of Poverty Porn - ala 2008 Slumdog Millionaire with perhaps a dash of the gawd awful film Crash.

Lots of opps for the whiteys to watch the brownies and feel bad for them...and consequently feel like they have sympathy in lieu of actually having to do anything to help or change things.
19
@17: Why do you hate Mimi? You're a Mariahcist, you scum-eating bigot.

She has sold more albums and has more money than you could EVER possibly dream of, and yet you belittle a quirky classic like Glitter?

For shame.
20
@13,

It's also worth noting that, historically, black Americans could only get anywhere by going into entertainment.

The Pursuit of Happyness is the only movie I can think of about a black person succeeding in business, but, sorry, Mr. White, it's not a good enough movie for the international festival circuit. Deal with it.
21
18: There's definitely a whiff of that, but this is a film made almost entirely by black artists, from the originating novel to the key aspects (writing, directing, acting) of the film, and dismissing their work out-of-hand feels more "racist" than any facet of watching the film.

It's a good movie, go see it.
22
19: Mariah Carey kicks so much ass in Precious I'm now willing to let her walk across my face in the shoes of her choice.
23
Someone makes a movie about the "invisible" and people complain about not making a movie about how the people have raised themselves up by their bootstraps. If they made a movie about that, then people would be complaining about how they never make movies about real people. Seems like people are always just complaining.
24
@20 - DoesHollywood Shuffle count? It's hard to inject that into a serious conversation, but it did have a point.
25
I get really sick of black men basically telling black women to shut up. There's no child abuse in the black community. There is no rape and molestation in the black community. All black mothers are good, sacrificing, church going women. All black women are size 8. No black person has ever or will ever eat fried chicken. There are no black men who abuse black children. Oprah has shown her journey from meager to mighty every week day for the past 24 years. Tyler Perry has told everyone who would listen that not too long ago he didn't have a pot to piss in and now he's the hottest thing in Hollywood since Paris Hilton's twat. But, of course, it's more damaging to the race to tell the truth about what SOME (no one said ALL) people go through and live with every day. This is the same bullshit argument made about The Color Purple. No redeeming black men in the film. All black women want to do is put down black men, and make up stories about how degrading and demeaning their lives are at the hands of black men. SSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTT. Va fa Napoli. I am a black woman. I was molested by a black man who was married to my mother. I was the victim of psycho-sexual torture for 7 years! I was traumatized for two decades. So, don't tell me what stories I can tell, or anyone else for that matter. If enough black people with enough money to do so would make movies that run the gamut of black life, then we could stop running these 50 year old tired ass excuses.

It's the Obama era. But let's not forget that he was abandoned by his black father. His is a story of success, etc. Should we not tell his story because of the whole daddy issue? Oh, yeah, we can't tell Tyler's story either (molested) or Oprah's (raped) of Maya Angelou's (raped) of Halle Berry's (abused by black men she dated - one of whom slapped her deaf in one ear.) I guess we should tell Rhianna to shut too.

Sorry for writing so much, but this always pisses me off. Let art be art. I those two are about uplifting the race, then start by telling the truth and then put down your pen, roll up your sleeves, and get thee to a ghetto and start working on solutions. Make the world you want depicted on the screen. The when all that work is done, we can all come to my house and watch Deliverance, and make ourselves feel better about ourselves.

I am black by the way.
26
Total classic.

Seriously - go see it.
27
@22: Mariah Carey would make you buy the shoes that she walks across your face in.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgpOJswqE…

you would like it, then brag about it. no one lets Mariah do anything, shoot.

28
I heart Stella.
29
I haven't seen "Precious" but anyone who takes Armond White seriously as a film critic needs to get their head checked.
30
1)No, David...Mariah's moustouche kicks ass in Precious...
2)The actors are great, the movie is powerful but uneven (wanders a bit into "To Sir With Love" territory)
and it's nothing like the gawdawful "Crash" or the ok but sweet "Slumdog"
3)You WILL cry during Mo'nique's big breakdown scene.
4)Why is it you never see Loveschild and Homo Ecce inthe room at the same time?
31
Stella just kicked some ass...I'd pay money to see her take on Armond White at Benaroya Hall.
32
@31 I'd be in line right behind you.
33
@22: Let?! Seriously?!

Nobody tells Mimi what to do, let alone gives her "permission" to do so.

I hope she picks fashionable cleats designed by Alexander McQueen.
34
Loveschild, you're forgetting one thing- the White Americans who thrive on racial stereotypes are not apt to go see this movie. In fact, I'd be willing to bet they'll avoid it at all costs.
35
Black social critics need to stop universalizing every high profile black project if they expect the larger society to stop thinking about "black America" as separate from America.
As with all social movements, as the people who remember the social upheaval of the 60's and 70's die off, and their children who have been raised in a more equal society, these analysis become less and less relevant.
This movie needs to be judged on its artistic merits. Does it tell a moving story about a person at a moment in her life? If it does it well, it deserves praise, if it does it poorly, it deserves to be panned. No matter the color of the people portrayed.
White critics are only comfortable bringing up the color issue because people like Armond White did it first.
36
@25 I completely agree with you, the problem is that such honesty is healing for us in the community because we're the ones that need to address it and to tackle on those issues, but when it is presented unto outsiders it has the potential for the kind of stupidity that has been expressed by some here and that can end up doing more harm than good for us. I think that's the fear that has been translated into caution by some writers, directors and critics withing the black community, and when you think about it, it's a very legit emotional response because outsiders have shown a propensity for that type of behavior.
37
@25 You're amazing.

@4 This is probably the same reason "chick flicks" suck. It's honestly the only place to find female leads.
38
@30 - matter and anti-matter can't exist in the same place and time, that's why.
39
great. another movie about the ghetto. who fucking cares
40
@36, I'm curious, who isn't an outsider in your world?
41
I saw Precious last weekend while in Chicago. Sure, it's a little heavy handed at times, but the moments of truth and grace are profound and moved me to tears, which does not happen often.
42
Armond White and Courtland Milloy beware! The Black Crusaders are coming for you, like they did Dave Chappelle and Tracy Jordan.
43
God forbid urban black culture ever be debated and challenged.... 'blame whitey' has done wonders for that community for the past 40 years.
44
"consequently feel like they have sympathy in lieu of actually having to do anything to help or change things."

Maybe because the black community should learn to take care of itself? Look at new African immigrants in this country, thriving and moving ahead.
45
Thanks, Stella.
46
Can white people watch this movie? We don't want it turning into another Roots where white people walk up to black people and say "i had no idea your people went through so much i am so sorry now get me my hamburger".
47
Well, now, with all the praise that has been heaped on, I am tempted to take on Stella, but I can't figure out where to start so instead, I'll take it in a different direction.

When I read my first review of this film, I could not decide whether it was really going to be about blackness or overweightness. Anthony Lane in the New Yorker described the lead character like this,

...her face so filled out that the play of normal expression seems restricted...

I can not get that idea out of my head when thinking about this movie. What does it mean that Precious is so heavy that it colors (no pun...maybe) her interaction with the world?

I get the sense that Precious does not "triumph over" anything, which is always a relief, for me, in a movie. I like when there is no arc. Think of Vonnegut's description of the lack of arc in Hamlet. But what is it that she does not triumph over?
48
@25 Stella,
Glad to hear you vent. I shall see "Precious". We need more voices like you.

I just finished "Dreams From My Father" by Obama. Indeed, his father Barack Sr. was an absent father. He was married to another woman when he met and "married" Stanley Ann Dunham, Barack Jr's mother. It is also being slowly revealed that Barack Sr. may have beaten or abused his spouses. He had four. Some of Barack Jr's male half siblings aren't exactly good examples of mature men either.

Whatever the case, I've said on this SLOG before but the greatest tragedy that is occurring in America today is the plight of absent fathers in the African-American Community. Out-of-wedlock births are now 72% causing great distress in that community. According to Nicolas Kristof of the NY Times, nearly half of all AA males aren't graduating with their HS class. This is catastrophe. African-Americans are our brethren sometimes literally as in my case. I sincerely hope Pres. Obama addresses this front and center.
49
It isn't on Obama's plate to address that situation. He's got enough to do. He doesn't run the courts, the school system, the social services system, nor was he elected to reform the American family system. He's our leader, the chief executive. What else do you want him to do, cure disease and completely reverse global warming? He's the President, a CEO, for pete's sake, not God or any approximation thereof. And if you mean he should cure the ills of African-American families because he's part African-American, that's both ridiculous and racist in itself.
50
@49Sara,
Disagree totally. The President is a "Father figure" for better or for worse. He MUST address this. Much is at stake. I contend it affects life expectancy for young black males. The homicide rate for black men between the ages of 18 & 24 is well over 10 times the rate of whites. It is a blood bath. This shouldn't be on the President's plate to address? WTF?

As for last sentence, bullshit. Mr. Obama has great support in the AA community and its great because he is African-American. All he has to do is address it. His greatest speech during the campaign was his "MIA fathers speech" on Fathers' Day no less. Any community can take the criticism as long as it is civil. Behavior can change.
51
Knowing nothing of the history of this film, when I first saw the previews I didn't think along the lines of race ("This a film about the lives of black people") but more about, "This is a film about a young girl who is, apparently, emotionally and physically abused by family."

Maybe I'm naive, but aren't we all supposed to stop using race as a factor for anything?
52
Why is no one mentioning the novel in this debate? The story did not just come from thin air, it came from a novel that was an underground sensation. (which by the way, it sounds like they didn't include all of the brutality from the original novel..)Why don't these critics talk to Sapphire, if they feel the story is so terribly false and demeaning?
53
Every day I sit with battered, hopeless, strong, shattered, inspiring black women whose lives read like terrible made-up novels of gross abuse and neglect. Don't they have a right to see their story represented up on the big screen? This shit is true.
54
From the NYT:

Sapphire, the author of “Push,” said it was too late in the day to worry that the film’s themes and images were somehow stigmatizing or inauthentic. “With Michelle, Sasha and Malia and Obama in the White House and in the post-‘Cosby Show’ era, people can’t say these are the only images out there,” Sapphire said. “Black people are able to say ‘Precious’ represents some of our children, but some of our children go to Yale.”
55
Not since Birth of a Nation or Amos and Andy have I seen a movie portray blacks in such a positive light. It was quite possibly the most uplifting movie since Saw I through VI or Hostel. Not since the rough sex humiliation genre was created in pornography has a movie worked so hard to empower women and portray them respectfully. In all seriousness, if this movie was directed by a white person, based on a novel from a white person, and was being promoted as an authentic black experience by white media personalities instead of by Oprah and Tyler Perry, I guarantee you it would be picketed to death and considered a travesty. Yet because it gets the seal of approval from the top victomology tastemakers in Black America today (Oprah and Tyler Perry), we have black people not only celebrating the most vile, disgusting minstrel show in decades but also encouraging nonblacks to view the movie in order to learn about the “authentic” black experience.

As a black man this movie disturbed me on many levels. At various points during the movie I could not in any form find anything of value in this film. To say I was disgusted would not be enough.

The best way to describe this movie is “poverty porn.” I understand the desire to shine a light on unpleasant issues. It can also be arguably positive to be graphic and make the audience uncomfortable in order to avoid sugarcoating something unpleasant and to make the audience really care about something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But Precious goes far beyond those first two goals and aims for pure shock value and emotional manipulation and twisted titillation.

As the details and depictions of abuse keep getting piled on higher and higher in increasing detail it becomes clear that the director is using the guise of a “message movie” to both giving himself license to be as fetishistic, lurid and morbid with the subject of abuse as he wants to be and giving the audience license to be titillated and scandalized to their heart’s content because everyone knows it’s a “message” movie, which somehow makes the voyeurism noble rather than twisted and indulgent.

The big problem with this movie is that it doesn’t care in the least about poor blacks. It just totally exploits them as sideshow freaks to gawk and laugh at, a vehicle to satisfy the various personal agendas of the creators and audience members while pretending to be an exercise in nobility and compassion.
56
@ some of the 'absent father' stuff up above, I'd rather have an absent father than an abusive one. The problem isn't that fathers are absent; the problem is their sexism and violence.