This is among the most emotionally powerful movies I've seen, a movie with a social message, without the preaching; excellent direction, superb cast. The story shown is the most horrific showcase of domestic abuse I've seen yet (EG, mother yells something like "I should have aborted your ass!", and that's not the worst of it). Character development is top-class as well. The movie boasts supreme direction and script (dialogue).
So many wonderful performances:
- Lenny Kravitz as the nurse; check especially his expression when she checks out the lesbian(s).
- Mariah Carey as the welfare officer; her character looks like she's having some personal shit of her own, at the same battles to hold a professional stance on learning the lead character's shit life.
- Mo'Nique as the horrid mother; she very believable, but the climactic scene, when she's with Mariah Carey's welfare officer is hard-to-beat, in all of movie history! This is not your traditional villain, and in the end, she does seem a victim (of her own idiocy).
- Sherri Shepherd as the lady who just can't leave the telephone alone.
- The grand-mom; check the moment she expresses disgust against the mother (Mo'Nique), once the social worker leaves.
- Chyna Layne so flawlessly plays an oh-so-kind Jamaican classmate, and does it with an accent that makes me want her hard.
- Xosha Roquemore so flawlessly plays a lound-mouthed, yet loving, classmate. I want her too.
- Amina Robinson is the more serious, scarfaced classmate, who I want even harder than the rest. Shit, she's fuckin' gorgeous, and that whatever she's wearing on her head doesn't help my plight. Shit, this was supposed to be a review about acting talent. Yeah, ummm, she really rocks. I love her stree-wise sass. So god-damn charming. I might be obsessed by my heavy attraction for her, but she really pulls it together so god-damn-well. She's not as pretty as Angelic Zambrana, but beauty ain't everything.
- Angelic Zambrana plays the prettiest of classmates. She's also the onyl real asshole of the class too, and does too well.
- Grace Hightower plays the social worker, and has great presence.
- Gabourey Sidibe plays the lead character; she can certainly carry the movie through, but I'm kinda split is she's that good. On one hand I just see a fat ass carrying her weight around, surrounded by superior talent. On the other, I see someone who makes me look forward to any little facial movement, because she's that charismatic.
I don't remember a better cast in all my movie-watching years. This is impressive, considering that these aren't mostly veteran actors (all faces are fresh to me, other than that of Mo'Nique). I truly commend the director for this (I suppose he's the niggah responsible). A lot of these characters appear only briefly, but they leave quite an impression. In fact, the one person who is out of place is the pretty teacher. It's the movie's only average (if not worse) performance.