Back when I composed my first Oscars prediction post, I made use of a quote from a critic viewing Precious for the first time at a festival, before it had been picked up by a major production company and begun to receive all the sought-after buzz. He aptly proposed that the plight of the heroine, Claireece "Precious" Jones is not "overly sentimental", implying that "a person's conviction is the one thing that remains when their circumstances are remarkably bleak." After having seen the movie for myself, I must acknowledge that I can't think of a better way to describe it.
Precious is an extremely powerful, gut-wrenching film. In fact, those very adjectives seem trite and insignificant, hardly enough to truly describe the tour de force that is Gabourey Sidibe's (and M'onique's) performance. The subject matter is not comfortable, not the type of thing you can discuss at a dinner party. More than once, I cringed in revulsion. At times, I had to stifle shrieks of terror. For most of the film, however, I found myself amazed by Precious. She is proof that even in the worst of situations, there is still a glimmer of hope in the human condition. Though starved of affection and real, meaningful relationships, Precious has dreams of a different life, where she walks red carpets bejeweled and glamourous, a veritable dark-haired Cordelia, adored by everyone. Rather than face one more minute of abuse at the hands of her cruel mother, she cradles her newborn baby and faces the wintry streets of Harlem alone, walking through the snow that gathers into dirty piles. She dutifully attends an alternative school, under the tutelage of a compassionate teacher, when it almost seems that it would have been easier to give up. Precious is able to exist with the merest thimble-sized amount of love to propel her, and her heart remains good, untarnished, despite the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against her. At the movie's conclusion, my mother-in-law and I sat, stunned into silence. The entirety of the credits rolled before we spoke again.
There is certainly more that can be said about the movie, more to debate and analyze, but my purpose was simply to highlight the performance of Gabourey Sidibe, an actress who in all honesty, may never reach this pinnacle of success again. The Best Actress statuette is Gabourey's to lose. If her name isn't called at the awards on March 7, it's simply proof of the political machinations of the Academy. It will be an injustice.