My ‘Precious’ Blu-Ray Experience: Not As Good the Second Time

Mo'Nique in PreciousBack in November, there was a clear front runner for Best Picture. The movie was Precious, or more officially Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, an utterly depressing tale of physical, mental and sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, down syndrome, AIDS, rape and obesity. After watching the movie in theaters, I described it as “one of the most satisfying films of the year” and “one of the best movies of 2009, if not the best.”

My brother and friend who went and saw the movie with me had a different perspective. They liked the movie, but didn’t love it. I didn’t understand at the time, shrugging off their opinion as youthful naivety. Several months later, with Precious coming to DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday, March 9, 2010, I now see what they were talking about.

Precious is a very good movie, in the sense that it features two extremely strong performances from Mo’Nique, who is expected to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and first-time actress Gabourey Sidibe. The story is well done and compelling, even if it is hard to watch at times.

But, it does have some flaws (in my original movie review, I said it “has few flaws, if any”), including some major ones. The movie is based on a book, but the book is a novel, not a non-fiction tale; if all these bad things that happen to the title character were true, the story would be incredible. But they aren’t. Sapphire (no last name? What’s with that?) concocted this story all by herself, piling up more loads of misery than any person has ever experienced. The result: the sense that we’re seeing misery for misery’s sake, and that gets old quickly.

The movie looks good, but Lee Daniels’ direction, on a second run-through, isn’t nearly as impressive as first thought. The styling and edits are rudimentary at best, begging the question how Lee Daniels got nominated for Best Director. I guess other voters got caught up in the hype as I did.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is a good movie, but not a great one. It’s worth seeing if you haven’t watched it yet, if not for anything other than the performances, but its repeat value is sketchy. Still, if you must insist on purchasing the film, it does come with several bonus features including:

  • An audio commentary with Lee Daniels
  • “From Push to Precious” featurette
  • A Precious Ensemble” featurette
  • “Oprah and Tyler: A Project of Passion” featurette
  • A Conversation with author Sapphire and director Lee Daniels
  • A deleted scene
  • The audition tapes of Gabourey Sidibe
  • Reflections on Precious

As you can see, Lionsgate has provided a lot of great features to dive further into the Precious world, making this a worthy Blu-Ray. The movie may be enough, however.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews
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