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Grim film delivers 'Precious' reflections


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POSTED: Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's easy to get caught up in the anticipation of the launch of the official Christmas shopping season and avoid spending any meaningful focus on gratitude. Seeing “;Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire”; will change that.

It started screening last Friday at Kahala and Ward, and is one of the most extraordinary films I've seen this year. This does not mean it's an easy movie to watch. But the book, which I read years ago after it first came out, was not painless either. Both are riveting and engaging, but a long way from simple entertainment.

Director Lee Daniels deserves a lot of credit for handling horrifying situations with creative grace. When Precious (her ironic middle name) gets raped by her father, Daniels invokes fantasy sequences to show how Precious survives these encounters. Impregnated twice by her father, Precious has one child with Down Syndrome and an infant on the way.

There's more: Sexual abuse from her mother (implied in the movie and described in graphic detail in the book), her mother's misplaced jealousy toward Precious, whom she believes has stolen the “;affection”; of her man, rampant verbal and physical abuse from all sides, and the constant refrain that “;school ain't goin' help nothin',”; even as Precious struggles to obtain an education and cling to some small hope for a better life.

Sound depressing? Grim doesn't even begin to describe it. Yet through it all, the spirit and courage of this illiterate, obese, beleaguered teen—played by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe with amazing authenticity and poise—rises above it all. And that alone is worth the price of admission, as they say.

Daniels deserves further credit for his eclectic cast. Mo'Nique plays Precious' mother with such fierce and frightening conviction that you don't want to see another minute of her, and you simply can't look away when she's onscreen. Mariah Carey is unrecognizable as a plain-looking social worker, and Lenny Kravitz and Paula Patton turn in fine performances as well.

Whether or not young adults can see “;Precious”; is a matter of personal preference; a glimpse into this girl's life in Harlem in the 1980s could instill a jolt of appreciation into any modern teenager accustomed to a shuttled, pampered life, but discretion is essential ...

TALK AROUND TOWN indicates that director Peter Berg will begin shooting “;Battleship,”; the feature based on the popular Hasbro game (who didn't love that game?), here in Hawaii next spring for Universal Pictures, though of course nothing is confirmed until the cameras start rolling. “;Variety”; notes the tentative release is slated for July 2011…

ACTRESS AND singer Candes Gentry, who has a new holiday CD out, says that music is an outlet for her. “;It's a wonderful way to center myself and share the talent I've been given, and hopefully touch other people and make them feel something beautiful,”; she said.

Her title track is “;Christmas Will Find us Wherever We Are,”; a song that resonated with her “;because Christmas is a feeling, a reminder to give back, to be grateful.”;

The new CD was released Nov. 1, and is available at Target, Costco, Sam's Club, Borders and Pacific Home for $10. For information, visit http://www.candescd.com ...

...”;LOST”; MADE the cut in the People's Choice Awards when it was nominated in the category of best TV sci-fi/fantasy show, along with “;Heroes,”; “;Supernatural,”; “;The Vampire Diaries”; and “;True Blood.”; Fans cast more than 18 million votes online to determine the nominees, and will choose winners in 35 different categories. And, in case you haven't heard, the long-awaited sixth and final season of “;Lost”; starts airing Feb. 2. Note the new night: Tuesdays!

Contact Katherine Nichols at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).