Lee Daniels wants you to look. He wants you to look at the horrific abuse in the personal history of his protagonist, Precious Jones. As an audience member, I wanted to look too. In fact, I think one reason people have flocked to this film involves the extremely human desire to stare in the face what is most repulsive, most sick and most grotesque – about as bad as you can imagine it — in human domestic familial life. And he’s got it here – it’s a home-based horror show.
But Lee Daniels also conspires so that you may not look. Oddly, and a little unnervingly, at a few points in the film Daniels actually takes the act of looking away.