Sunday, 20 September 2009

'Precious' Wins Toronto

So the juggernaut, of sorts, continues. To be honest, with the films that were shown I was surprised (pleasantly so) that it was able to beat out the competition.
This goes to show that this is much more than just a 'black' film (which a lot of people have said will hinder it in terms of awards and seats in the cinema) and for that I am deliriously happy. Call it the 'Obama' effect or what ever you like.

Some people are already raining on the films parade. Eric Kohn of The Wraphas said:
"Its triumph is a rather conventional one, considering the acclaim that this movie has developed since its Sundance premiere back in January. Lionsgate bought the movie and managed to secure endorsements from Tyler Perry and Oprah, both of whom walked the red carpet at the movie's Toronto premiere a few days ago.

Is it possible that audiences were manipulated into voting en masse by the presence of these showbiz giants? Maybe, although that shouldn't detract from the merits of "Precious" as a flashy shot of dramatic intensity. Expect this movie to continue to hog the spotlight as it careens toward a November 6 release date"
It is reporting like this that infuriates me. 'Precious' won the AUDIENCE award, not the pretentious critic award. If the Audience felt strongly enough watching the movie and decided to vote for it, who is anyone to argue. At the end of that that is what cinema is for - the audience.

To also say it won because of Oprah Winfery being in the spot light is also ridiculous. If anything, big celebrities hogging the spot light on this film will hinder it. Oprah and Tyler Perry came in as producers/presenters after the film was complete. They are just there to make sure this film, which is a tough sell, is seen.
Oprah has the power to get people into movie seats. Sure she should scale it back a little and make sure the focus of the film is not on her and Perry but on director Lee Daniels, writer Sapphire and the actors.

Whatever the critics have to say (and let's face it, whenever a film starts getting traction they is always that loud nag who comes along to sh*t all over it - it happened last year with 'Slumdog Millionaire' and it happens every year) doesn't really matter in the end, it is how it makes people think.
Some people have been saying the film is cold, well the book wasn't a big ole bear hug either. I am glad sentimentality has been left on the side and brutal honestly has been added instead.

Not everyone is going to love the film, and it is in danger of over hyping itself, but look at the bigger picture. This film was made and miraculously is winning big awards. This is a film that appears to be speaking strongly to people in a personal way, so who is so self important that they are going to argue with how someone feels.

Congratulations Lee Daniels, Geoffrey, Sapphire, Gabby, Mariah, Mo'Nique and Paula. Your movie is connecting with people, not everyone, but enough to get attention, which is all you can ever ask.


Vance said...

Okay, now that I've seen it, I'm surprised it won the Audience Award. Not because it's not great, but because it's so dark, that people can tend to confuse movies with subject matters they don't like with movies they don't like, that it shows you just how strong this picture is to get beyond that darkness. (And usually slightly more feelgood stuff wins these things).

But I do see the backlash coming because this is still a small indie movie with intense and specific subject matter. Hopefully the fact that it's directed superbly with a great cast can overcome some of the forthcoming backlash. (And to be honest, in my own group, the reactions were all over the place from hated the movie to loved).

Michael Parsons said...

I would be very interested to know your thoughts on EVERYTHING about the movie

Vance said...

My review is up! (sort of SPOILER below tho so heads up) Basically, it's hard to "LOVE" the film but yes, I was in tears near the end, and my heart felt like it had been ripped out and stomped on. So yes, it was great. Not perfect, (there's a little heavy handedness and the abuse sometimes just keeps piling on to unbelievable levels, but for a movie like this, it was still kept as grounded as possible) but the direction is superb, the dream sequences hilarious and unexpected, and performances just amazing. Still, I can definitely see the backlash coming and can see valid reasons in some of the arguments but hopefully that won't distract from the central core of the film.

Oh, and Gabourey Sibide is a glorious find.