Friday, November 13, 2009

More thoughts on Precious

There is a lot of buzz about the acting in director Lee Daniels' film "Precious" and truly there are exceptional performances - some unexpectedly so. But you can't separate the performances from the context in which they are given.

The style of the film, the choices Daniels made, the camera work, the editing have to be taken as a whole and that whole includes the acting: Everything fits, everything works. Frankly, there are no stand-out performances because the performances are so uniformly terrific. This is really an ensemble piece (although the astonishing performance by Gabourey Sidibe as Precious is the fulcrum for this ensemble, and without which it would be a different film altogether). All great performances are the result of the give and take among the actors working together and in concert with a director. That is what this is about.

But it is also about the style.

Again: the style, the camera work, the editing: the gritty reality of Harlem, the feel of a documentary, the edgy heightened color, the total in-the-moment reality of the performances consistent with the use of dream sequences and flash-back.

There is an old saw in the theatre and film that 'we deal in truth, not facts.'

Daniels has made a film that draws us in; that has the sense of documentary-reality but which goes far beyond any 'facts' and gets at the greater truth.


Sarah said...

I've been hearing buzz about this movie....I really want to see it! Multiple Oscar nominations?

Denis B said...

probably multiple nominations. possibly best picture, director, lead and very possibly a supporting actress.