Friday, November 27, 2009

Dissecting my impression of the movie "Precious"

I have a friend who won't go and see movies that are anything but entertainment. If it has a tension, or profiles a historical situation that is not uplifting and/or fun she won't go. Examples would be "Shindler's List", or "Hotel Rwanda". I respect her opinion even if I don't share it. She goes to the movies to escape and these types of stories obviously do not meet that end.

I went to go and see the movie "Precious" last night. This movie fell into the category of "I should see" vs "I want to see". The 'should see' movies are those that are brilliantly written, well acted and usually telling a troubling hard luck story. Precious was no different.

The difference with this movie is that it was so incredibly hard to watch I actually sat there wondering how my life was better from having experienced it. Yes the storytelling was complex and compelling. Yes the acting was superb. And yes the direction was risky and creative.

Yet it was such a horrible God-awful story of human suffering and pain on an individual level that I wonder why I would recommend it to anyone. I suppose there was the triumph at the end- meant to be uplifting and empowering. But did I feel hope at the end? Not really. What purpose did telling such a story serve?

Perhaps the reason it didn't personally resonate with me and why I didn't feel connected to the triumph is because I couldn't empathize with that type of suffering. I couldn't put myself in the heroine's shoes. It was just so far removed from my sphere of existence that I couldn't fathom or appreciate the journey.

I'm still thinking about it though. So perhaps my exploration is not finished. And my appreciation of the movie is still to come.

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