I've been reading a lot of varying views about the new Tyler Perry/Oprah Winfery backed film "Precious." Everything from criticism of it being exploitive from Armond White to a recent Root article criticizing the young lead actress' weight.
As some of you probably already know, "Precious" is based on the book "Push" by poet Sapphire and tells the story of a sexually, emotionally and physically abused overweight black teen, set in the late-1980s inner city. White probably had one of the more interesting (and in some parts, maddening) critique of the film. He labels it as the "con job of the year," all but calling director Lee Daniels a sick pervert and Winfrey/Perry black poverty pimps.
Wait. He actually did kind of call them that. Saying that Daniels knows how to "turn a racial trick."
Of course, White praises the Eddie Murphy films "Meet Dave" and "Norbit" by comparison, jettisoning his argument to a certain extent. I mean, how can you trust the opinion of someone who thought Norbit passed the sniff test? But even a proverbial broken clock is right twice a day.
From NY Press:
Not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious. Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show. Offering racist hysteria masquerading as social sensitivity, it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.
Sometimes White gets a little drunk on hyperbole in the review, but we get his point. He falls heavily on the exploitation end of the argument against "Precious."
The Root article is a little more frustrating because the author uses the lead actress' weight as a cudgel to beat people with over the obesity crisis. Because, how dare young actress Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe be celebrated for being confident about her physical appearance! The only reason why I'm rolling my eyes at this argument is that NO ONE demonizes thin actors for either A) endorsing anorexia by being unhealthily thin, B) demonizes gorgeous actors for endorsing an impossible beauty standard on the public or C) demonizes actors who smoke for endorsing a killer habit that can actually hurt, not just themselves, but others, through second-hand smoke. So, unless author