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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Precious : Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

The movie Precious is based on the novel Push by Sapphire and I think that Geoffrey Fletcher the scriptwriter did great justice to the novel. It is 1987, and 16 year old obese, illiterate Claireece Precious Jones, played by Gabourey Sidibe lives in a Harlem ghetto with her abusive mother, Mary played by Monique. Precious has been impregnated twice by her father, the physical abuse started when she was only 3. She also faces physical and mental abuses from her unemployed mother. However when the principle of her school discovers of her second pregnancy, she suspends Precious and arranges for her to attend an alternate school. Precious finds a way out of her traumatic daily life by by looking forward to attend Miss Blu Rain’s classes; gradually Miss Rain becomes her mentor. However her patience reaches the last straw when Mary deliberately drops the 3 day old Abdul, Precious’s second child by her father, the first one, a girl named Mongoloid who suffers from Down ’s syndrome. Precious finally fights back, gets her son and flees her home for good. Though life hands her out another devastating news, she is resolved to improve her life for herself and for her children and thus severs all ties with her mother; she plans to complete a GED test. Monique is the best thing in the movie. She tears up the screen and then in a climactic scene with Miss Weiss and Precious, tears our heart. She was worth the Oscar for the best supporting actress category at the 82nd Oscars. There is only one word for her – dynamite. The deglamourised Marih Carey as the social worker Miss Weiss was a revelation. Sidibe as Precious has won much appraisal no doubt but I found her too passive and too unwilling at times. Somehow her expressions and her movements were restrained. Precious is an emotional powerhouse, a triumph of bruising humour and bracing hope that deserves its place among the year’s best films.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

21 Grams

21 grams is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez. The movie interweaves several plot lines, around the consequence of a tragic road accident. Sean Penn plays a critically ill mathematician, Naomi Watts a grief stricken mother and wife and Benicio del Toro a born again Christian ex convict. The movie is presented in a non linear arrangement where the lives of the characters are shown before and after the accident. Each of them has a past, present and a future story which is shown in non linear fragments, which all finally converge at the end of the story. The title 21 grams refers to the small loss of body weight, representing the departure of the soul, immediately following death, which is what Penn’s Paul Rivers soliloquises at the end. Jack Jordan played by del Toro is an ex convict who is caught in a hit and run accident involving Cristina peck’s husband and two girls which result in their death. Paul is critically ill who urgently needs a heart transplant and he is given the heart of Cristina’s husband. It is a complex narrative style and the plot is largely incomprehensible for the first 45 minutes. This unfamiliar and complicated way of telling a story is difficult to grasp immediately and requires a lot of attention on the part of the audience; thus this format is both the film’s blessing and curse. It is not exactly a Saturday night popcorn flick and requires the audience’s active participation. There is strong and raw emotional burden but that makes the movie even better. There is a strong performance by all three of the main cast and no one lets down. Penn and del Tore excellently portrayed the troubled souls but Watts as Cristina Peck brings home the damaged goods: a one time party girl to a wife and a mother whose life is damaged beyond repair enhances her status as a leading lady and she deserved both the nominations for the best supporting actress at the Oscars and at the BAFTA for the best actress category.