Monday, November 9, 2009


his Friday, I had the special opportunity to see the new film Precious. Based on the novel Pushby Sapphire, the movie was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. As a privileged New Yorker, I was one of the first people in American to see film, attending the viewing on the first night of its selected city opening. The film tells the story of a teenage girl, Precious, who lives in Harlem during the late 1980's. Throughout the film, she struggles with obesity, teen pregnancy, abuse, and a myriad of other issues that occur during her life (I don't want to give any of the plot away). She is akin to The Color Purple's Miss Celie, a tragic character nearly destroyed by the wicked world around her, rather than her own choices. Like the Celie, we see Precious learn to finally love herself and embrace an inner strength of steel that leads her away from her mother's smoke-filled apartment. Her witch of a welfare mother is played by comedian Mo'Nique. The entire experience was quite grand. I saw the film with a few friends at the AMC movie plaza (home to at least 25 screens) in Times Square to a soldout house. It was one of the most exciting events I have ever attended in a theater, be it screen or stage. The full audience was entirely locked into the movie, cheering for Precious, laughing, crying, and oftentimes verbally responding to the movie. By the time the end credits commenced, I was glued to my seat, stuck in thought, rather than anxiously ready to exit the theater, glad I had endured 2 hours in my seat, asking where everyone would like to go for drinks. The film stands alongside my Broadway experiences seeing Wicked and August: Osage County or the SITI Company's recent Humana offering Under Construction as one of the most spellbounding and amazing theatrical events I have witnessed. The movie kept me guessing, completely locked into the moment, not looking ahead or guessing what's next. Instead of daydreaming or thinking about what i had to do the next day, the film in front of my eyes had my complete and total attention.

I cannot give enough praise to the acting in this film. I was blown away by the breakout talent of the young lady playing the title character and floored by the wicked, destructive, and oftentimes very funny character Mo'Nique, someone I never considered as a major acting talent, created on the camera. Like August, she shares lineage with that play's destructive mother, the pill popping Violet (both with ever present cigarette), as well as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf's Martha and Long Days Journey into Night's morphine addicted Mary. Deceptive, manipulative, fast talking, seeing and knowing all, she sits in her chair each day, blazing through copious smokes, watching TV game shows, and ruling her daughter's life, a royal welfare Queen. Though her performance is both horrifying and entrancing throughout the entire film, it is her final scene that in the social worker's office that sends chills down the spine and calls for ovation and ah. She is a vision of Realistic acting, the art we so desperately strived for in college, she plays the scene moment to moment, working her triggers, the images of what she is talking about coming alive in her eyes - she had it all. The movie masters the art of capturing the beauty in the ugliest of things, the delicate balance of tragedy and comedy, and a real reciprocity in telling the truth, rather than sugar-coating or playing the film at a biased angle. Admittedly, I have not seen many other movies this season, I hope this film stands among the winners and nominees when awards season commences this winter. Told through an Afriecan-American motif, this is an American story. While the aforementioned Color Purplewas shut out at the Oscars, I hope Precious brings home some metal come February. Rather than playing a Mammy (Gone with the Wind), a comedic sidekick (Ghost), or a famous singer(Lady Sings the Blues, Ray, Dreamgirls), this is an authentically African-American story told through the clearest lens, presenting the truth, without pretense or comment. When this film comes to your city, I hope you will check it out (and tell me what you think!); it is certainly worth seeing and eye-opening.

In other news from the city, things at Locale have been going out, becoming more and more a routine rather than an experience (it is work after all). The cigarette urn caught on fire last night, and it was quite comical to watch Stefano and the bus boy put out the potential fire. I have been doing an OK job of avoiding McDonald's, finding the Subway (the one with the sandwiches, not the rats) and eating at home. Though I did demolish a pint of ice cream last night . . . though that's at least dairy right? I think it may have even had less calories than a Value Meal. So it was the healthy choice, no? I attended the Afterparty again this Friday, which was very fun and found me drunkenly eating a hotdog in Times Square before dozing off on the train home. All in all, a good and busy weekend. This week sees me working a little bit,getting my life and apartment in order in anticipation of my mother's NYC arrival this Saturday. Time to finally scour that filthy bathroom. At least it's sunny out today!

No comments:

Post a Comment