Precious tells the story of Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones (Sidibe), who is an obese and poor African American teenager who from a very young age has been systematically abused emotionally and physically by her mother and repeatedly raped by her father. Pregnant by him for a second time, she is expelled from school, and recommended to attend an alternative education centre. It is here where she meets an inspiring teacher whose encouragement gives her the hope for a better life.
As you can tell by that small description, this movie deals with some very dark moments in one girl’s struggle as those around her who should be loving and protecting her, are instead violently hurting her.
The physical and emotional violence that her mother “Mary” (Mo’Nique) unloads upon Precious is extremely hard to watch. There were moments when I felt on the brink of howling with tears and in some moments I felt so angry and yet helpless. I cannot say that this is a movie that I enjoyed watching. That is not to say that I thought it a bad movie, quite the opposite. The gritty realism of Precious is deeply affecting. Reminding me at times of the same feelings I felt when I watched “Once were Warriors”. It was hard to watch at times due to the extremely visual nature of the physical and verbal abuse. However, without the realism of the deeds, neither movie would impact you so deeply and therefore help to move the spirit to such intense feelings of anguish for another person.
Now since this is based on a real person’s struggle (Sapphire), it is no surprise that the movie is all about the extreme suffering that leads to an element of triumph and those people who finally come into Precious’s life to encourage and drive her forward. Each of the roles played by Paula Patton, Lenny Kravitz and even Mariah Carey are so realistic that you can’t help but to connect with them.
Of course on the antagonistic side, Mo’Nique’s portrayal of Mary is so harrowing and disgusting that it is hard to find any form of forgiveness or hope for such an abuser. Her performance was so very perfect and so very deserving of the Golden Globe that she has already won and any Oscar that should come her way. It is of interest to know at this point that Director Lee Daniels attempted to make this film around 2005 and in that version Gabourney Sidibe’s (Who played precious) mother was cast to play Mary. Of course as the film came to fruition several years later new casting was done and Gabourney Sidibe was chosen a mere six weeks before production started to play Precious after they apparently interviewed over 400 girls for the role.
It is no wonder as to why this film has garnered such praise globally, as it is amazingly put together and is one of those stories that can’t help but impact you on so many levels. However it is not for the faint of heart or easily upset, but it is worth fighting through the hard stuff to get to the triumphant moment of overcoming.
Reviewd by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 4th February 2010
Rating: R16 Violence, Sexual Violence, Offensive language & Content that May Disturb.
Duration: 109 minutes
Starring: Gabourney Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey & Lenny Kravitz
Director: Lee Daniels