In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
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In Harlem, 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is illiterate and overweight. She is pregnant with her second child, both children fathered by her biological father, who has continually raped her since she was a child, but who she doesn't see otherwise. Her infant daughter, Mongo - such named since she has Down Syndrome - lives with Precious' grandmother. Precious lives with her mother Mary, who abuses Precious both physically and emotionally. Mary does nothing but smoke, watch television and collect welfare through fraud (as she doesn't ever look for a job) and believes that education does nothing for Precious, who she would rather also collect welfare if only to bring money into the household. To escape her life, Precious often daydreams of herself in glamorous situations. Because of her current pregnancy, Precious' principal transfers her into an alternative school. In dealing with the school's sympathetic teacher Miss Blu Rain, Precious ...Written by
When Precious's teacher is ringing the buzzer, Mary is watching "227." (No footage is shown, but dialogue can be heard.) The dialogue, mainly between Mary and Sandra, is from the episode "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Pageant" (originally aired 29 October 1988). See more »
Clareece 'Precious' Jones:
My name is Clareece "Precious" Jones. I wish I had a light-skinned boyfriend with real nice hair. And I wanna be on the cover of a magazine. But first I wanna be in one of them BET videos. Momma said I can't dance. Plus, she said who wants to see my big ass dancing, anyhow?
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SPOILER: First of all, thank God that this doesn't claim to be "based on" or "inspired by" a true story. That would be too much to take, because this is truly the most brutal movie I have ever seen - brutal not in quality but in content. As Precious deals with her mother's ongoing and relentless abuse (both physical and verbal) you find yourself almost in tears. As she has flashbacks to the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of her father you just need to turn your head away for a while and catch your breath. It's brutal. It doesn't claim to be based on a true story. You hope it's an exaggeration. You wish it doesn't happen. And, somehow, somewhere, deep within you know there are young kids enduring this type of abuse on a daily basis. So, the movie definitely gets an emotional reaction from the viewer, and deserves credit for that. But let's think about the content.
As brutal and emotionally draining as it is, the story is at times lacking. Perhaps the flashbacks and fantasies are a bit too much, so that you're not always sure of the reality of what you're watching. You have to like Gabourey Sidibe's performance as Precious. Her absolutely unfeeling reactions to her mother struck me as the sort of reaction an abused child would have. For an inexperienced newcomer, her performance was great. An Oscar nomination? I'm not sure to be honest. One of the biggest problems I had with her was that I often had trouble understanding what she was saying. Maybe it was the character - Precious being uneducated and abused, so she mumbled a lot as if she really didn't want to be heard. Perhaps there's some reality to that, but it's frustrating from the perspective of watching the movie and wanting to hear the dialogue. I thought the confrontation with her mother in the social worker's office was well done. It seemed the logical climax to the movie as the mother is confronted with the evils that happened to Precious at her hands and at the hands of her boyfriend. I loved the fact that Precious walked away and left her behind. I was also a little confused, though. She walked away with 2 kids - one with Down's Syndrome? As she said herself, she's still only reading at a junior high school level. Sure. "Then high school. Then college." She has dreams. That's great. But she's not living in the "then" - she's living in the "now." How is she going to care for two kids? As the movie ended, I was worried about them.
It really is a brutal, emotionally wrenching movie. It's not a movie I would watch twice. It's full of horrendous abuse and some of the most sustained and foulest language I've ever heard in a movie. It deserves a lot of credit. But it's also not great.
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