(Oops, I think I just got in trouble for not calling it "Precious based on the novel Push by Sapphire". Did anyone else watch the Oscars? That bugged me more than anything. Now I am determined to call it Precious and nothing else. I'm a rebel and I never ever do what I should.)
Hot damn, I wish I had watched this movie without hearing all the hype about it first. I was all primed by the media to think that this was the most heart-wrenching movie, evah. I hate when people tell me that, because I inevitably remain a cold-hearted bitch throughout the viewing. It was good. It was moving. Was it better than anything I've ever seen before? Meh.
Gabourey Sidibe did a really great job - especially for newbie. Trouble is, I had a really REALLY hard time understanding her. And I was listening hard. (Extra hard, because I had to interpret for my dad who doesn't always hear too well. Btw - watching this movie with your dad? Weird. I don't advise). I am of the school of thought that it doesn't matter how authentic your dialect/speech/accent is, it's not a good thing if people can't understand you. You have to ease it up a bit for the general audience who may not be attuned to that kind of speech.
I had a hard time backing Mo'Nique (is that a super-fancy way of spelling Monique, or is she "more unique" than the rest of us?) because I watched her Oscar speech where she pointed out that her winning was "proof that these awards are based on talent and not politics". A little cocky, no? And how does she know that her win wasn't based on politics?? She did have Oprah backing her movie, after all. That being said, her breakdown speech at the end was very compelling.
The biggest surprise for me was Mariah Carey as the social worker. I spent an inordinate amount of time going "Is that Mariah Carey?", "That looks an awful lot like Mariah Carey..", "It can't be Mariah Carey, cause this chick is good!". I had no idea that she was in the movie and she gave such a subdued and grounded performance that I still can't believe it was actually her. What a nice surprise.
I think I would have been more blown away by this movie if I was caught unawares at a first viewing in a film festival. I picked up the book in Chapters yesterday (cause someone smartly put a display of adult fiction in the children's sections for those of us who are held captive by the train table). I started reading it and was instantly drawn in. I forgot to watch the boys for a few minutes. I'm going to have to read the whole thing when I'm done this month's book club selection and see how it compares.