Festival Updates Interview: Lee Daniels' PUSH
Faith Salie interviews PUSH director Lee Daniels and cast members Mo’Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, and Paula Patton in the Sundance Channel Studio. Presented by Honda, The Power of Dreams.
PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE
DIRECTOR: Lee Daniels
SCREENWRITER: Damien Paul
U.S.A., 2008, 105 min., color
With sheer audacity and utter authenticity, director Lee Daniels tackles PUSH: BASED ON THE NOVEL BY SAPPHIRE and creates an unforgettable film that sets a new standard for cinema of its kind.
Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is a high-school girl with nothing working in her favor. She is pregnant with her father’s child—for the second time. She can’t read or write, and her schoolmates tease her for being fat. Her home life is a horror, ruled by a mother (Mo’Nique) who keeps her imprisoned both emotionally and physically. Precious’s instincts tell her one thing: if she’s ever going to break from the chains of ignorance, she will have to dig deeply into her own resources.
Don’t be misled—PUSH is not a film wallowing in the stillness of depression; instead, it vibrates with the kind of energy derived only from anger and hope. The entire cast is amazing; they carry out a firestorm of raw emotion. Daniels has drawn from them inimitable performances that will rivet you to your seat and leave you too shocked to breathe. If you passed Precious on the street, you probably wouldn’t notice her. But when her story is revealed, as Daniels does in this courageous film, you are left with an indelible image of a young woman who— with creativity, humor, and ferocity—finds the strength to turn her life around. —JOHN COOPER
ExP: Lisa Cortes, Tom Heller Pr: Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness CoP: Mark G. Mathis AsP: Asger Hussain Ci: Andrew Dunn Ed: Joe Klotz Principal Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz