GRADE FOR PRECIOUS: B-
What I liked....
Stop reading if you don't want some plot twists, turns, and 180s to be ruined if you haven't seen the film!
Superb acting. Honestly, Precious is better acted in one scene than other movies are in their entire length. Obviously, it's been said that they will get Oscar nominations and of course that only makes sense given the material given to these two women and the way they handle every painful scene. However, I definitely don't want Sidibe to win for this, not with Carey Mulligan in the race at least. Mo'Nique, while great, ends on such a meh note for me character-ly, so even if it's great acting I was distracted by the movie's poorly written character.
Lee Daniels keeps it from being a bit melodramatic, even if Precious deals with one too many problems. Good job, Daniels!
Tangent- This could or could not be the film's fault. The few dramatic lines that got a laugh from the audience (at least the one I was with). Example (and I'm paraphrasing):
Mo'Nique: Precious, your father died today.
Precious: Is that it?
Why the hell did this get a laugh? Now I would normally fault the audience for this, I mean, this isn't supposed to be funny. Her relationship with her father was sad and terrible to think about, and in my opinion this line should not have garnered a laugh. However, is this the film's fault? I need help with this one. I personally still don't see the humor in it, but to get such a "Ha!" from an audience and a few attacks from other reviews of "unintentional" humor, maybe the film should have approached that differently. Well, it worked for me.
What I didn't like....
Spoiler alert continues...
Mo'Nique's ending monologue. "Oh, it moved me to tears!" What? That moved you to tears? Am I missing something? How do I sympathize with this monster who spent the majority of the movie attacking Precious, both verbally and physically?
That horrific ending. Had the last 10 minutes of this film never existed, I would have liked it more. Precious walks out, triumphant after the last "showdown" with her mother, and a musical montage of sorts starts as she walks down the street, nowhere to go, no money, nothing to eat, with her two children. What? You must think I'm crazy for not liking this when I loved An Education, which has a pretty ambiguous ending. Precious just never ended though. She has HIV, a child with down syndrome, and an infant in her hands, and the movie ends? I know not everything can be resolved, but c'mon. That wasn't "uplifting," like others have said. That was just an easy way to make everyone feel great: have Precious storm out of the meeting with her abusive mom and play music!
Mariah Carey performance praise, namely the Oscar buzz. This is less the film's fault than the buzz's fault, but really? All she did was de-glam and deliver some lines. It's better than Glitter, but if this is ever considered Oscar/Awards in general-worthy, then that is terribly sad and pathetic. What she did was acting. What Mo'Nique and Gabourey Sidibe did was embody a character.
So, if this becomes a major awards winner, I'll be pretty upset. What about you?