I met Sapphire—poet, spoken word artist, and novelist—briefly through a car window many years ago in San Francisco, not long after her novel Push had been published. She was in the passenger seat, I knew the driver, and they were just rolling on by when they spotted me on the sidewalk. She was kind and warm, but, as you know, I don't read novels, so I never did pick up her book. What the fuck is wrong with me?! The novel reads more like a theatrical monologue from what I can tell on Amazon. And I'm going to love this. You know how I know?
Well, I just saw Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (how her agents and lawyers or whoever managed to secure that title is beyond me), and it really is as good as the pre-release hype suggests.
I don't feel I really need to throw more praise on it, but I do want to say that everything you've heard about Mo'Nique, the comedienne-turned-dramatic-actor, still won't prepare you for her stunning performance as the title character's abusive mother. Her first extended monologue alone will make your jaw drop and quite possibly chill you to the bone.
I also want to mention that some of my friends are avoiding the film because the trailers make it look like a depressing journey into utter darkness. While the movie pulls no punches when depicting Precious's horrific life, it's also got plenty of humor and an almost-spiritual uplift.
This is also perhaps a movie that resonates with writers for some reason. Check out fellow bloggers Noel Alumit and Cheryl Klein for their raves.
I especially like when Klein writes, "Rather than just one self-sacrificing teacher, it takes a village to get [Precious] out: teacher, guidance counselor, social worker, nurse, new supportive classmates.... In Precious and, in my opinion, in life, no single person can defeat an entire web of injustice."