The new film Precious, in a cultural debate
By Brittany Falkers
The film "Precious" open nationwide this weekend, intensifying the cultural debate of which black stories are told, The New York Times said.
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," is about an obese, poor, illiterate, young black woman who is sexually and emotionally abused, according to the New York Times.
The film 'prevailed' at box offices this weekend with a record $1.8 million in limited release. Although "most critics gave the "resounding hopeful" release two large thumbs up, dissenters say it just perpetuates negative stereotypes." The Week said.
The Week also raised the question, "Is "Precious" exploitative?"
Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry are two of the movie's executive producers giveing the film added cultural influence, adding fire to the flames of the movies debate, according to the New York Times.
A New York Times article compared "Precious" to the 1985 film, "The Color Purple."
"A father repeatedly rapes and impregnates his daughter, [in both films] enraging some critics (mostly men) who asserted that the book and the film treated black men harshly." the New York Times said.
Dozens of black people interviewed about their perspectives on "Precious" included Armond White, the chief film critic of The New York Press and the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, who gave "perhaps the most provocative salvo against the movie," the New York Times said.
"Not since 'The Birth of a Nations' has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as 'Precious,'" White wrote in his review. "Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucked of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show."
Mainstream news media and serious critics ignored recent black-theme films like "Cadillac Records" and "Akeelah and the Bee" because they were not negative enough, said White in an interview with the New York Times.
Others, such as Racialicious.com editor, Latoya Peterson, say White is off base.
"His review buys into the narrative that there can only be one acceptable presentation of black life," Peterson told the New York Times. "He's flattening the black experience, and in that way, he denies our humanity."