There are numerous links to other reviews, and I know our favorite contrarian Armond White skewered the film for similar reasons, but I'm starting to think they are on to something....we are heading into Crash territory all over again - Let's make a movie about how horrifically horrible life for poor black people is and feel better after watching it for having expended emotion in sympathy for their plight - all the while reinforcing the pathological belief that those poor black folks are just so fucked up.Among black men and women, there is widespread revulsion and anger over the Oscar-nominated film about an illiterate, obese black teenager who has two children by her father. The author Jill Nelson wrote: “I don’t eat at the table of self-hatred, inferiority or victimization. I haven’t bought into notions of rampant black pathology or embraced the overwrought, dishonest and black-people-hating pseudo-analysis too often passing as post-racial cold hard truths.” One black radio broadcaster said that he felt under psychological assault for two hours. So did I.
The blacks who are enraged by “Precious” have probably figured out that this film wasn’t meant for them. It was the enthusiastic response from white audiences and critics that culminated in the film being nominated for six Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an outfit whose 43 governors are all white and whose membership in terms of diversity is about 40 years behind Mississippi. In fact, the director, Lee Daniels, said that the honor would bring even more “middle-class white Americans” to his film
So i'm very curious to hear from people who have seen the film - I have not yet, but hope to as soon as it is available to view at home - and what they came away with. Is it emotional assault? grievously hopeless racialized carpetbombing of America's ghettos as incest infested horror shows? If Todd Solondz made this film and set it in New Haven Connecticut, would it be considered a blanket condemnation of elitist intellectual communities? Why does it have to be interpreted as such because it's set in a poor black community? Because White people see something like this and assume it must be part of a world they don't understand?
Much of these questions are somewhat rhetorical....all of them are in the realm of thinking out loud. I really just don't know what to make of the effusive praise coming from predominantly white critics/audiences, and the borderline vitriolic hate coming from some black cultural critics and the general African American movie going public. So what do you all think? Is this a triumph or a tragedy?