Precious (2009)


My name is Clareece Precious Jones. I want to be on the cover of a magazine. I wish a had a light-skinned boyfriend with good hair. But first I want to be in one of those BET videos.

— Clareece “Precious” Jones

When I saw the trailer Precious for on Oprah, I teared up. That’s rare for me to cry looking at a trailer. The story of Clareece “Precious” Jones struck as a cord with me so deep that I had to catch the movie opening weekend. My expectations were high for the movie. It’s a good movie, but it’s not perfect.

Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, the movie centers around in Harlem 1987. An obese 16-year-old Clareece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe) is pulled into Principal Lichtenstein’s (Nealla Gordon) office. She is concerned about the lack of education that Precious has received. She is still in junior high school that is virtually illiterate, pregnant with her second child by her mother, Mary’s (Mo’Nique) boyfriend who happens to be her father.

Whenever something terrible happens to Precious, she retreats into her daydreams where she wants to be famous and have a light-skinned boyfriend (Barret Helms). Mrs. Lichtenstein wants help Precious to have a proper education. The situation at home are awful. She is treated like a slave by her mother that orders Precious to cook her food. If Mary doesn’t get her way, she throws anything at Precious. Mary wants Precious to quit and get on welfare like herself.

The principal enrolls Precious into “Each One, Teach One”, an alternative school for people who seek to get their GED. She is lead to the ABC class by Cornrows (Sherri Shepard). Precious is introduced to the other students of the class; Rita, Rhonda, Jermaine, Joann and Consuelo (Stephanie Andujar, Chyna Layne, Amina Robinson, Xosha Roquemore, Angelic Zambrana). The ABC teacher, Ms. Blu Rain (Paula Patton) pushes Precious to learn how to read at a high school grade level.

Precious goes to the welfare office where a no-nonsense social worker, Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey) wants Precious to open up with her life story. When she does, Precious’ life spirals out of control.

The last thirty minutes of the movie is heartbreaking, devastating, shocking, and poignant. Everybody knows a Precious in their lives. In varying degrees, I knew a “Precious” in my life. This movie could be tough to watch, but it’s not brutal for the sake of it. This is another facet of life that is rarely discussed because it’s swept under the rug. Don’t talk about that. It’s too taboo. It need to be said. I’m glad that Lee Daniels is not afraid to have this material out to the masses.

Judgment: This move will make you laugh, cry, but most of all it will touch your heart.

Rating: ****1/2

About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on November 15, 2009, in 2009, Academy Award Winner, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Crime, Drama, Independent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m so glad to see you gave this movie such a high rating and so much praise. I’ve watched the previews and I think what a simplistic manipulation this film could be, but even in my own cynical quick judgment there was something that got past me, something genuine and real that has drawn me to this film. I’m going to see it for sure now.

    • I’m glad that you are going to give this movie a chance, Heather. It is some heavy material. I encourage you to watch the movie when it’s crowded. It’s a visceral experience all around.

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