Its official. Hollywood is holding its breathe for the premiere of “Precious“. Gossip, speculation, excitement, buzz… How many Oscars will it catch? Is it “too urban”? Will it reach the art-house crowd and the Tyler Perry crowd? How much $$ will it bring in for Lionsgate?
But will anyone be addressing the social impact of a film like “Precious”? What happens to an audience when a life of incest, poverty and rape is writ large on the big screen? How do we measure a film that has already provoked painful truth-telling from the producers, director and actors? Executive Producer, Oprah Winfrey has long been vocal about the physical and sexual abuse she suffered as a child, but Tyler Perry? His disclosure could have been a career-killing move, but he told his story anyway. Mo’nique, made the bold decision to play the film’s villain, and came out about the sexual and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother. She talks about using the experience to fuel her performance. In Sunday’s New York Times, a twelve page profile of Lee Daniels, covers both his successes and his father’s beatings.
We are slowly making space as a public to listen to what we all know to be true: someone you know can relate to the story of Precious. Her story, and the stories of those who brought it to light, will spark a torrent. And as we continue to lift the shame, how will we measure the tidal wave?