My name is Clareece “Precious” Jones. I wish I had a light-skinned boyfriend with real nice hair. And I wanna be on the cover of a magazine. But first I wanna be in one of them BET videos. Momma said I can’t dance. Plus, she said who wants to see my big ass dancing, anyhow?
Nicola and I watched this months ago, but it’s stuck with me as a film. It follows the title character, Clareece ‘Precious‘ Jones in a period of her life where she is pregnant with her second child, and referred to an alternative school, effectively giving her a ‘second chance’ at her education, set amidst the bleakest of circumstances. The film was widely criticised for portraying too bleak a picture of ‘welfare America’, and from this bleak picture creating a ‘superficially inspirational’ storyline.
There’s something very harrowing about watching such a movie in the comfort of middle class Scottish suburbia. A number of weeks before this, we’d watched ‘NEDS‘ by Peter Mullan, which was disturbing in a similar way – the principle character struggling to come to terms with how their environment has shaped them into the person they are.
What was utterly depressing about Precious was how despite the horror of her home life, her manipulation by social stereotypical marketing was still a driving force. Last week, I spoke about Katy Perry’s movie, and the power of the Oscar Wilde quote near the end – “Be yourself – everyone else is already taken”. How does this stack up for someone with such a turbulent homelife like Precious? What is our role in life to help or inspire the likes of Precious? What type of society condones such an existence?
Image credit: amboo who?.