PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL 'PUSH' BY SAPPHIRE (Lee Daniels, 2009)
An uncommonly resonant yet perpetually exasperating experience. Lee Daniels is astonishingly sensitive and incisive in the handling of his actresses. But he is staggeringly inarticulate when it comes to every other facet of directing. Entire flashbacks and fantasy sequences are woefully misconceived (not to mention, crudely shoved in), but more frustrating is the way Daniels lets several of the searing centrepiece monologues crumble to nothing as soon as they climax. He has no sense – or at least, a warped sense - of structure, pace, or how to organically foster a desired visual dynamism. Perhaps he recognizes and mistrusts the simplistic, didactic melodrama that is the film’s core. But a simplistic, didactic yet exasperatingly flashy melodrama is by no means a step up.