Friday, March 12, 2010

Beyond My Endurance (A review of the film Precious.) I gave this film a very good numerical vote on IMDb and yet I left before it ended. The film is phenomenally powerful and there are no words to iterate its superb acting quality and yet it was, to me, SO upsetting that I could not continue to watch after the first hour. I may rent it again to watch the final scenes. I could not psychologically endure not only the extreme violence to the 16 year old morbidly obese girl, Precious, by her own seemingly demon-possessed mother and others around her, but I could not take the violence to the young girl's soul. I was shaking inside, I was angry, I was scared, and most of all I was sad that this life is often -- much TOO often -- a reality for so many.

I, simply, as a human being who has valued academics so enthusiastically all of my life could not endure a scenario which I am loath to admit exists. It was hard for me not only to relate to a woman who by age sixteen could read ONLY the letter "A" and who could barely speak a complete sentence, but it was hard for me to auditorily understand the linguistics, so often inordinately profane, of it as well. I can never remember a time in my life when I could not read, when I did not appreciate academics, when I did not wish to be more academically superior than I am. I had to step out of myself -- WAY out -- to try to understand the the lowest depths of depravity to which her environment sank and shudder as to the enduring effects in had on her.

I will certainly never understand how human beings perpetrate such unspeakable cruelty. Before seeing "Precious" I had viewed 14 episodes of "The Wire" about the drug ghetto culture in the city of Baltimore. The milieu in "The Wire" seemed like the Hamptons in comparison to household of Precious. This film was infinitely difficult for me to watch. I literally had a panic attack in the middle as it frightened me to my core and I had to walk out.

We cannot, though, feel self righteous as many who read this probably have never experienced this kind of brutality but, in truth, it exists everywhere in different forms. It is perpetrated not only by a single family and environment but exists on the battle fields world wide as well. It literally stops the heart and forces so much of our humanity to fade into the nothingness of the death we inflict upon each other all too often.

The final question to me is what can WE do? What is the solution to the grinding poverty, illegal drug saturated and violent world in which we live? Whether it is the slums of Mumbai reflected in the film "Slum Dog Millionaire," the drug mayhem in the city of Baltimore shown in HBO series "The Wire," the bestiality of war in the world at large or the abominable cruelty Precious singularly suffered, it leaves me wanting to throw up my hands and think these problems, for me at my age, are out of my control.

I will not say not to see this film. I will say see it but beware it is overwhelming to the senses of anyone who has a shred of decency and compassion left. I wish the next generation and all the succeeding generations good luck in ameliorating these intractable problems. They surely are going to need it.

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