The Cadillac People's Choice award winner for TIFF 09 - why are we not surprised? This movie will not be everyone's cup of tea - it definitely wasn't ours - but the lure of the free ticket and the reputation of last year's winner drew people in - the crowd stretched in front of the Elgin on Yonge Street around the corner down Church Street and up Victoria Street waiting for the magic hour of seven when the tickets were given out.
With all the pull that only Oprah can bring - this film Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire is surprisingly a very tough watch but laced with moments of humour that bring Precious out of the darkness.
It's a survivor's tale - with no spoilers here - a harrowing childhood and a lazy, abusive mother on welfare and a father nowhere in sight - Precious's life in the toughest part of New York is contrasted by her MTVshaped escapist fantasies. The director Lee Daniels employs little indie canera tricks to mask this motion picture. Heavyweight names behind the characters surrounding Precious's life - including Mariah Carey as a social worker and Lenny Kravitz as a male nurse - subsume their star identities into the characters of their roles, almost becoming unrecognizable. Despite being suspended from school for her second pregnancy Precious's principal recommended her to an alternative school "Each One Teach One". The teacher - almost too good to be true - driven by her love of teaching - encourages her students to write in their journals - drawing Precious out of her shell and pushing her rudimentary reading skills along and to write her story.
This is the type of movie where if the Academy saw only one film would swallow hook line and sinker. It has every element of an Academy Award winner - a winning tale - a heroine who fights the odds - surrounding characters who keeps things interesting and amusing despite their situations - last year the Cadillac People's Choice Award winner was a little movie made in India by Danny Boyle called Slumdog Millionaire - a similar fate may not be out of the cards for Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire.