At the Movies with Kevin:

Archie Bunker would have approved of the manner in which “Precious” portrays black people as stupid, abusive, ignorant, and lazy. Although there are certain people of every race that fulfill these requirements, the belief that any group perfectly illustrates every aspect of these characteristics is blatantly and unforgivably offensive. I am appalled at the implication that these are facets of real life for any race, rather than the actuality of the unbearable and pointless exhibition of abuse that constitutes the film’s structure.

The film’s storyline effectively follows a pattern of humiliating and degrading Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) continuously until it becomes almost unwatchable. It then switches to brief moments that illustrate a possibility for hope, which is discarded in favor of more abuse that is painful and meaningless. I am unsure of the reason to inflict such despair without a sense of optimism or catharsis for the characters, but “Precious” certainly achieves this, even if it does nothing else.

Tyler Perry, one of the film’s producers, seems to determined with all of his endeavors to insinuate that all black people are obnoxious, loud, and moronic, but these are only the opinions of racists. All of his television shows and movies are simply permitting these racist beliefs that pollute the progressive social dialogue that should be taking place. Perry, once a homeless comedian who has worked his way up to becoming a millionaire, has an inspirational success story that should be applauded for its demonstration of resiliency. He appears to be a decent man with harmless intentions who appears clueless to the harm he is imposing on the improving nature of interracial relations, but pleading ignorance as a reason for continuously perpetuating ignorant attitudes is not a permissible excuse.

“Precious” shows black people in the same light as “Birth of a Nation” did in 1915, but that film was at least revolutionary and influential in its filmmaking style, while this one does nothing to advance the cinematic medium. That said, “Birth of a Nation” lacked the historical perspective that should be expected from “Precious”, but both are awful explorations of insensitive and bigoted portrayals of black people.

Racists are going to watch this movie with pride, believing that someone has finally shown black people in the way they should be seen. All of their suspicions will be proven correct with this offensive illustration of characters with no other reason for acting as they do other than to depress the audience. The performances, which are the only decent artistic part of the film, only add to the despair and denigration of Precious that is unending and unbearable. There is an inhumanity within the characters who abuse Precious that is senselessly startling.

“Precious” encourages the belief that every dark-skinned person satisfies all racial stereotypes. The film shows light-skinned blacks as polite and virtuous and dark-skinned blacks as evil and volatile sub-humans who wish for people’s company only so their unnecessary abuse can be targeted. According to the gospel of “Precious”, a trace of white blood makes you a better person.

“Precious” is basically a long-running cruelty joke. It starts with Precious being expelled from school for no discernable reason other than to garner artificial sympathy in the eyes of the audience. Even though the decision might turn out for the best, this is not a realistic depiction of a principal’s possible actions.

Precious is not a real person. She is a dramatic device used and abused at the impulse of the filmmakers whenever they feel the need to inflict senseless pain. These virulent actions do not resonate dramatically as pictures of realism, but rather as gratuitous moments of meaningless hate.

“Precious” decides to include a final device that plays on our depressed emotions, which is a despicable excuse for the torture of an innocent child that reveals nothing about the human experience. This revelation makes her triumphant pursuit of an education a worthless enterprise. The film does not simply kick Precious while she is down. It drags her tired body into the shed and beats her with a baseball bat. It does this by showing the two rapes of Precious in extremely graphic detail because of its constant ambition that is aimed at forcing the audience to cringe by illustrating hopelessness as the only commonality in her life. Apparently, the filmmakers felt that the consistent physical and verbal abuse at home and on the streets was lacking some dramatic feature.

The director, Lee Daniels, completely misplaces the tone of the entire film by splicing in random and needless dream sequences in the most depressing and heartless times of Precious’ life. These are meant to be invigorating escapes from the despair that is Precious’ life, but are actually annoying distractions used as false exhibitions for an inauthentic hope. There is nothing genuine about “Precious”, and its pure exploitation of emotions is a sickening and inherently offensive attempt at manipulation that makes the audience feel increasingly unclean. The film has been mentioned as a possibility for various year-end honors, but to award any credit to the artistic achievement of “Precious” would be tantamount to endorsing the hateful attitudes it so vehemently and continuously perpetuates.

This is more than a bad and horrifically depressing movie; it is a dangerous one. “Precious” shows blacks in such a disparaging light that it could influence people who are incline to discriminate and enhance these attitudes. It is sad that “Precious” would be propagated as a breakthrough for black filmmakers when it is actually a shame that it was ever produced.

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