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    Should teenagers see the movie “Precious?”

    I’m still trying to shake the feeling of emotional exhaustion that overcame me while I was watching the movie “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” over the weekend.  By now, most people know it’s an intense, at times shocking, story of a black 16-year-old teenager’s physical and mental abuse in a dysfunctional family. My 14-year-old daughter wants to see it. 

    What is the appropriate age to allow teenagers to see this movie? Or, should parents allow teenagers under the age of 18 to see it at all? 

    Indeed, the movie is powerful. It opens a door into a world of disturbing suffering but also celebrates the strength of the human spirit. But it crosses the line into a distasteful voyeurism. There is a scene showing a vicious sexual assault on Precious by her father. Precious’ mother gets angry with her daughter and throws her weeks-old granddaughter down. A toddler in the role of Precious’ older daughter, who has Down’s syndrome in the story, appears to have the disorder and is actually in a scene when Precious’ mother calls the child stupid and other ugly names. I know it is acting but it’s too much. 

    I’ve been asking myself what would my daughter, who turns 15 in a few weeks,  gain from seeing this movie. I know that I left it with a troubled spirit and I’ve already seen plenty of ugliness during my life, particularly as a police and court reporter when I started my career as a journalist years ago. This movie could have used much more innuendo. Did it have to slap us up beside the head? 

    For the right reasons, this movie is rated R. I’m not going to allow my daughter to see it and I don’t think it is suitable for other young teenagers, even if the parents sit beside them in the movie theater. Of course, our teenagers today are exposed to harsh realities but I don’t think they will gain anything from being drenched in the pathology of this movie except a bit of emotional exhaustion.Precious

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