Precious (2009) is the second film directed by Lee Daniels, who previously produced The Woodsman and Monster’s Ball. It is based on the 1996 novel Push by African American author and performance poet Sapphire.
As the film opens, we are introduced to the main protagonist Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), who is a sixteen-year-old black girl from Harlem in 1987. Precious lives with her mother who continuously physically and psychologically abuses her.
She is obese, illiterate, and also pregnant with the second child of her father. Her first child is a 4-year-old who is specially-abled.
Even though she is in ninth grade, she has yet to learn to read and write. Precious is regarded as a good student since she’s quiet and rarely gets into trouble. It is evident that teachers are primarily concerned with classroom behaviour and not with education. Since she is obese, her peers’ judgement and mockery make her life even more terrible than it already is.
She avoids looking at people and rarely speaks. But behind those unspoken words, lies a life that no other child would want to be living in.
Precious’ only source of balance in life at this point is her grandmother. However, she is afraid of her daughter and refuses to help her granddaughter. Having to live with abusive parents, she desperately wants a way to escape from it all.
Her life, however, is changed forever when school authorities find she is pregnant and expel her. Her only alternative is to enrol in an alternate school
Ms. Rain, played by Paula Patton, is her instructor in her alternate class. She is a dedicated teacher who genuinely cares about her students. With supportive classmates and her teacher, Precious begins to believe in herself and starts to turn her life around after she learns to trust and believe in Ms. Rain. And the rest? Well, it is left for the audience to watch!
Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe (even though it is her debut film) have given performances that would establish them as two of the best actresses.
In the 2010 Academy Awards, Precious won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role by Mo’Nique and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher.
Precious depicts the grim realities of living in an unhealthy relationship. The film serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have loving parents and a trouble-free childhood.
The movie isn’t that bad at all; it is emotional, thought-provoking and even hilarious at times. The film will shock and upset you but you will find it uplifting in the end. It also reminds us that ‘hope’ is not just a word with four letters, it is a loaded word that can help one to get through the darkest of times.
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