This sad but ultimately hopeful film gives us a glimpse into the life of a teenager named Precious, whose tragic upbringing is all-too-familiar for millions of young girls worldwide. Pregnant for a second time, still in the 8th grade despite her age, illiterate, and the victim of abusive parents, Precious deals with her pain by fantasizing about everything she wishes she could be while she struggles to make a better life for herself and her children.
The acting in this movie was superb -- even Mariah Carey, whose acting skills have often been criticized as being luke-warm at best, manages to deliver a convincing performance. The actresses who play Precious and her mother are the standouts, however. Both deserve some serious recognition from the movie industry.
The story itself captures your full attention, dragging you into Precious' life, involving you in her pain from the moment the film begins. It is difficult not to be moved by the struggles the protagonist faces as she tries to find her place in the world. Great plot, great writing and a great story overall.
I highly recommend that you see this film, although it isn't for the faint of heart. This is one of the few that manage to live up to the hype.
If I could give this movie zero stars, I would.
Terrible acting, terrible plot and all-around terrible in every possible way. If this was meant to be a parody (which some scenes seemed to indicate, given the sheer absurdity it managed to reach), it wasn't a particularly funny or clever one. If it was meant to be a serious attempt at horror, it failed to be the least bit scary. The acting was on par with what you'll find in a junior high class play; not a drama class play, either -- the kind of play you're all forced to put on for English class while reading a novel, where none of the kids want to be there and even the teacher hates it.
I fear this film may be the final nail in the horror genre's coffin. It was THAT bad.
'The Box' is a melding of science fiction, horror and social commentary, directed by Richard Kelly. Like his other films, the most famous of which is 'Donnie Darko', the movie seems to be heavily influenced by the styles and techniques used by Stanley Kubrick in '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'A Clockwork Orange', although the concepts being explored are somewhat different. Unfortunately, Kelly fails to execute this style as well as he could have. It also doesn't help that so many other film-makers have tried to emulate this style over the years, to the point where it's becoming a bit tiresome.
The plot and themes of the movie had a lot of potential, which is why I was a little disappointed with the overall product. The film is successful in making you ponder over the questions it poses as well as its underlying message about human nature and free will. In order to understand it, you need to keep in mind that it's mostly meant to pose open-ended questions rather than provide revelations, although there is some social commentary spread throughout the movie. You, the viewer, are meant to draw your own conclusions or at least acknowledge the dilemmas. The ending is meant to be open.
Another issue people have pointed out is that the movie can make you feel a bit uncomfortable; I suspect that this may have been intentional, but it's impossible to be certain about that. To some degree, that discomfort might be attributed to the poor editing, which I'll elaborate on in a moment.
Despite its success in some areas, one of the biggest issues with the film is that the plot didn't come together very well. Movies that jump around can still be good, of course, but some degree of cohesion is always required, and the Kelly seems to have sacrificed that in order to keep the film stylized. In addition, the editing was not well done. Once again, I know what he was going for with the sudden, abrupt changes of scene, but he didn't succeed in pulling it off. It just comes across as amateurish.
Cameron Diaz's acting was below par, but she's never been a very strong actress, so I wasn't expecting anything amazing from her. The other actors were okay. Not great, not terrible -- just okay.
On the whole, I felt the movie was decent. It managed to catch my attention and keep me entertained. Better execution and editing, however, might have bumped the film up from 'decent' to 'excellent'. I would recommend watching it if you have some time to kill, as it does have some genuinely creepy moments, an decent story and interesting themes, but it certainly wouldn't be my first pick for movie night. It's not something that I'll be re-watching, either. The movie gets three out of five stars from me. It would have been lower, but like I said, I enjoyed the themes being explored throughout the film.