Sapphire’s Push: Movie Updates
ATTENTION: See the latest update by clicking HERE.
Okay, I searched online for a few updates for Push’s Sundance premiere, which I heard has already garnered one standing ovation. So, again, I tried to dig up photos and reviews for people who are as interested as I am in this film. From what I’ve figured out so far, most of the current reviewers have never heard of Sapphires’ book before now. Shame. I know I should just wait for the movie to come to theaters, but if they can hype Notorious the way they did, why can’t I hype Push on my little ol’ blog?
This is what I’ve found so far:
Lee Daniels is anxious but not anxious.
He’s been to the Festival before, as producer of the 2004 film THE WOODSMAN, the Kevin Bacon film about a pedophile that is what they call in the industry “a tough sell.” This year he’s got PUSH, another harrowing story about an overweight, illiterate teenaged incest victim in Harlem.
Daniels is not anxious because he feels that his film will succeed. It will sell and if by some chance it doesn’t, he feels his financial backers will find it the right home. He says he’s bursting with pride over this film.
But however not-anxious Daniels may be, there’s still that necessity of subjecting your baby to the world’s judgment. He has a routine before his films are screened at this and other festivals: “I have a lunch or early dinner where I pray with my cast,” he says. “We pray and thank God for the fact that I was able to finish another one, and that they were a part of it. . . . And then I go out and I have my one cigarette a year and a glass of champagne.” No, he doesn’t sit through the screening with the audience. “At that point, what does it matter?” he says. “There’s nothing I can do about it and it’s torture if they’re not laughing at the right spots or not moved at the right spots and I haven’t hit my mark. It’s torture.”
In light of this, you will understand his advice for those in the Festival for the first time: “You’ve got to believe in the baby that you’ve given birth to. Ultimately, if I’m stuck with this movie in my DVD player and that’s it, I’m happy about it. I’m in love with every frame.” (Read more . . . )
Well, true, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz were in town last night for the premiere of “Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire.” I caught up with it this morning at a press screening and was unexpectedly moved: Lee Daniels’ has taken an Oprah-ready story and turned it into a real film. Most affecting is Gabourey Sidibe (in photo above) as Precious, the kind of character most movies would run screaming from or turn into a cartoon: a hulking, inarticulate mountain of a Harlem 16 year old with an emotionally abusive mom (Mo’Nique), sexually abusive dad (Rodney Bear Jackson), one child, and another on the way. The movie skirts being a chamber-of-horrors melodrama and an agenda-driven inspirational movie (once Precious lands in an alternative writing class headed by Paula Patton), but the script, the performances and especially Daniels’ smart, alert direction, grounding the film in real reactions, real speech patterns, keeps it honest. Mostly. Kravitz plays a male nurse in a few scenes and I was two-thirds of the way into a sequence where Precious visits a drab Noo Yawk social worker before I realized it was Carey. She’s surprisingly good (no, “Glitter” still isn’t forgiven) and Sidibe is better — an unforgettable presence as the kind of kid most of us look past on the street but who increasingly glows with inner life. (Read more . . . )
The first movie I saw today was Push, the story of 16 year old Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), an African American girl living in Harlem. Precious is fat, uneducated and pregnant with her second child. A second pregnancy, like her first, given to her by her rapist father. Her mother Mary (Mo’nique) emotionally and physically abuses her. Her school mates make fun of her and Precious has an existence where she feels worthless. After being kicked out of school, she joins an alternative learning program where she meets Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), her teacher that supports her. Precious, whenever she’s being abused or her mother is yelling at her that she’s stupid and will amount to nothing, dreams about happier places where she’s a superstar. These moments are rather funny yet sad at the same time. Push is an extremely emotional film backed by some wonderful acting, especially from Mo’Nique, who I think has given the best performance I’ve seen so far at Sundance.
The problems Precious faces are problems that face a lot of uneducated minorities, and even none minorities, today. Ones with family and education problems who find themselves with no place to go and nobody to trust. It’s an honest and painful look at a section of our society ignored by most. The movie also stars Mariah Carey as the welfare counselor. You may not recognize her at first because she wears no makeup throughout the picture. Her acting has improved quite a bit since Glitter, but man, she looked nothing like she does in her videos. She actually looked like a Frog brother from The Lost Boys. Push is definitely ‘R’ rated, with rape scenes, and more swearing than an Italian mob movie. I really enjoyed Push. I think it’s a movie that’s sometimes hard to watch, especially when you find out what happens to Precious and the challenges she faces in her life. Check it out if you ever get a chance (Source).
Still waiting for the movie trailer! Happy reading, y’all.