This is without doubt one of the most acclaimed films of the year. It’s got a score of 91% at Rotten Tomatoes, it won the top prize at Sundance and it’s on track for multiple Oscar nominations. However, it didn’t quite resonate the same way with me, and despite it being an undeniably moving and important story, I still think this is one of the most overrated films of the year so far. It falls into the same trap as most other inspirational/against all odds stories by resorting to tired cliches and generally just feeling contrived.
Precious, played by Gabourey Sidibe, is an abused, obese, illiterate teenager who is pregnant with her second child after being raped by her monstrous father. When she is expelled from school, she enrolls in an alternative program where she meets Mrs. Rain, a progressive, inspirational teacher a la Michelle Pfeiffer in “Dangerous Minds” or Hillary Swank in “Freedom Writers.” Clearly director Lee Daniels wants nothing to do with subtlety, and I was a little turned off by how excessively he reaches for the audiences’ sympathy. Had he made “Precious” a grim and gritty indie as opposed to an over-stylized drama I think it would have been more effective.