Produced by: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Written by: Geoffrey Fletcher (Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire)
Narrated by: Gabourey Sidibe
Original Music by: Mario Grigorov
Featuring: Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey
Length: 110 minutes
Date of Release: (In limited theaters), November 6, 2009
"Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious," so reads the tag line of the eponymous film, directed by Lee Daniels.
Precious is based on the award-winning novel Push by Sapphire (Vintage Publishing, 1996.). Ramona Lofton -a poet and short-story author- changed her name to Sapphire because she felt it would look better on a book cover and because it's something associated with a "belligerent black woman." She birthed her first -and only- novel in 1995, and its release incited a bidding war and landed Sapphire a six-figure publishing deal.
The plot of the novel -and film- (set in 1987 Harlem, New York), centers around the character Claireece 'Precious' Jones, a Black teenage mother who is illiterate, overweight and continuously abused -mentally and physically- by her own parents. The Jones family resides in a ghetto-ridden tenement slum and Precious constantly daydreams of a life far away from her real world. She enters into an alternative high school in hopes that it will lead her to a better future for her and her babies, but she's constantly plagued by the travails of her abrasive mother (played by Mo'Nique). Sapphire contests that Precious is not based on a real person, but rather upon the young women she encountered while working as a literacy teacher in Harlem and the Bronx, before she began writing.
In January 2009, after the films release at the Sundance Film Festival, Precious has since gone on to receive worldwide, critical acclaim and has received several prestigious awards including a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild trophy for Mo'Nique (Supporting Actress).
If we can learn anything from Precious and her mixed-up world, it's that we all must see ourselves in a new light, breaking from the negative and focusing on the positive, and as the film's theme song says, we must always see ourselves in color... think Golden!
THE BLIND SIDE
Produced by: Broderick Johnson, Andrew Kosove
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Written by: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis
Narrated by: Sandra Bullock
Original Music by: Carter Burwell
Featuring: Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron
Length: 128 minutes
Date of Release: (In theaters), November 20, 2009
When it comes down to helping those less fortunate than others, most people allow themselves to be hit on their blind side because they refuse to look at what's going on around them; such isn't the case with the giant-sized film, directed by John Lee Hancock.
Based on a true story, The Blindside chronicles the trials and triumphs of Michael Oher (played by Quinton Aaron), a professional football player for the Baltimore Ravens. As a young man, Oher was in and out of the foster care system for 17 years, with no immediate family to claim or look after him. He eventually landed in the hands of the Tuohy family, an outgoing and caring bunch, who immediately overlooked the fact that Oher was more than 6ft tall, burly and Black! Oher's saving grace, Mrs. Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock), instinctively realized that Oher was homeless after she'd seen him interacting with her son at school, she allowed him to spend a night with her family. 'Big Mike' (as Oher's affectionately called in the beginning of the film), reveals that he hasn't seen his mother in years... and so, night after night, after night, after night... he resided with the Tuohy's, until one day they decide to legally adopt him.
Towards the end of the film, Aaron's character conquers his own demons, as he struggles to identify with an all-American White family who has seemingly adopted him just because of his potential football prowess. Although an NCAA ethics committee member tries to paint a different picture of Oher's family, he still winds up staying with them and eventually heads to college at Ole Miss.
The film's feel-good message resonates from scene to scene and shows us how the power of love can unite us all, regardless of race, ethnicity or social status.