It is often said that nothing is invented, but copied and adapted. Indeed, nowadays it seems to be an everlasting reality, especially as far as cinema and literature are concerned. Films based onbooks have constantly been a sound success, as well as some farfetched adaptations. Differing what should be considered an adaptation or only a loosely influenced film is no easy task, and a good exampleof that is the film Precious (2009), which could easily have been inspired by the book and also film The Color Purple (1982). Similarities between both works of art are undoubtedly noticeable.However, one question remains unanswered: How influent and relevant was The Color Purple to Lee Daniel’s masterpiece?
Precious, the main character of the film, is a black teenager, whose life revolvesaround financial difficulties, taking care of one of her two daughters, pretending to take care of her mentally disabled daughter so as to keep her mother receiving benefits from the government, going toa especial school, where most students are still illiterate, and trying to develop interpersonal skills, despite having been sexually abused by her father, who also fathered her two children. Not thatdifferent, Celie, the main character of the book, is a black young woman, who also was sexually abused by her stepfather, who also fathered her children, not to mention being semi-illiterate andtaking part in a homosexual relationship with her husband’s mistress.
Both characters have much in common, but the real appeal of both masterpieces lies in how different and similar they are. The role ofsexual orientation is key in both stories. Precious finds in her teacher, a lesbian who keeps a serious relationship with another woman, the mentor and role model she had been longing for. WhereasCelie sees in her husband’s mistress and the person with whom she maintains a homosexual relationship, Shug, her first object of desire, the person she would like to be and the person she feels...
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