A third prominent African-American commentator (and the fourth overall as far as this column is concerned) has joined the Precious takedown campaign. The writer is Washington Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy, who has trashed Lee Daniels‘ film with almost an Armond White-like vitriol.
“In Precious, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry have helped serve up a film of prurient interest that has about as much redeeming social value as a porn flick,” he wrote today. “In it, we glimpse a sweaty, faceless brute of a black man raping the girl while her mother watches from a doorway. Two children are conceived in incest.
“I watched the movie at a theater in Alexandria where showtimes are nearly around the clock, from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. The audience was mostly black women and teenagers. When the lights came up, all of the moviegoers appeared sullen and depressed.
“After escaping the abuse of her home life, Precious ends up in a halfway house. She is still functionally illiterate and has two babies to care for, one with Down syndrome.
“Strangest of all, many reviewers felt the movie ended on a high note. Time, for instance, wrote that Precious ‘makes an utterly believable and electrifying rise from an urban abyss of ignorance and neglect.’ Excuse me, the movie ends with the girl walking the streets, babies in her arms, having just learned that her father has died of AIDS — but not before infecting her.
“The story is set in 1987, before AIDS treatment became widely available. Precious is as good as dead.
“At the Cannes Film Festival, members of a mostly white audience gave Precious a 15-minute standing ovation. I guess they can hardly wait for the sequel. Rolling Stone gave Precious 3.5 stars out of four. Three X’s would be more like it.”