Rated R 109 min. 2009

It doesn’t get much more harrowing than Precious. Raped by her father who has left her pregnant with her second child at age 16 and horrifically abused by her mother, Clareece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) has developed a vast, complex interior life as a means of escape.

In voice-over narration, director Lee Daniels allows us to see an inner light burning bright inside this young, lonely girl living in 1987 Harlem, despite an outward exterior that screams “nobody home.” Her immediate surroundings give her every reason to shut down: Precious’ mother Mary (Mo’Nique) seemingly lives to humiliate and defile her daughter for her grotesque perception that Precious has “stolen” her man away.

As the film progresses, and Precious meets a string of caring teachers and social workers (including an extraordinary Mariah Carey, scrubbed of makeup and deeply sympathetic), she begins to vocalize. She brings that inward voice out into the open and begins crafting a real future instead of a fantasy escape hatch. Lee Daniels’ film is the Brokeback Mountain of 2009 for the way it forces us to consider the human beings inside stereotypes. For its portrait of a complex young woman caught in horrific circumstances, Daniels’ story — embellished by some incredible performances — is truly exceptional.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Lee Daniels

Writer: Damien Paul and Sapphire

Producer: Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness

Cast: Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe



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