“Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire” sweeps Sundance


Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire swept the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend, winning the grand jury and audience choice awards. Directed by the openly gay Lee Daniels, and based on a novel written by an openly bisexual black woman, the film has been touted as the new The Color Purple, but set in Harlem.

The film’s main character is newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, who plays the obese, illiterate 16-year-old Precious Jones. Precious is pregnant with her second child — by her father. Comedian Mo’Nique plays Precious’ abusive welfare mother. It’s such a surprising role for her that she also picked up a special jury prize at the festival.

It’s dark and disturbing, alright, but also incredibly hopeful. Precious triumphs over her extreme adversity thanks to her lesbian teacher (Paula Patton) and social worker (Mariah Carey, who, apparently, can actually act).

According to The Huffington Post, Daniels had this to say when accepting the second award for his film:

This is so important to me because this is speaking for every minority that’s in Harlem, that’s in Detroit, that’s in Watts, that’s being abused, that can’t read, that’s obese and that we turn our back on. … And this is for every gay little boy and girl that’s being tortured. If I can do this … ya’ll can do this.

Still, Push has yet to be picked up for distribution, which might be because, as some critics have noted, it could earn an NC-17 rating. However, as Daniels himself noted, the story is so “universal” that it really deserves to be seen nationwide. Here’s hoping it is able to reach us all in the next year.

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