Gabourey Sidibe in Precious
The first 20 minutes of "Precious," the full title of which is "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," are so intense and pitched so high, you may not feel like sticking it out.
My advice: Stick it out. This is an exceptional film about nearly unendurable circumstances, endured.
You will come out the other side of it a markedly enriched filmgoer.
The story of Claireece
The 16-year-old Precious has one child and another on the way, both by her own father. Her life (and director
The novel was published in 1996. Screenwriter
The miracle of the ensemble is that it does, in fact, feel like an ensemble. Newcomer Gabourey Sidibe plays Precious, and she is phenomenally expressive in her portrayal of a huge young woman shouldering a massive amount of adversity. Mo'Nique plays the pivotal role of Precious' vicious mother --
Daniels allows himself the fantasy outlet of Precious' imagination: When the sexual violence (or other kinds of violence) gets to be too much, the young woman escapes into herself and we see her on-screen as she dreams herself to be: all dolled up on the fashion runway, or attending some paparazzi-laden premiere. Some of the visualizations are conventionally realized, but the necessity of such scenes is clear.
Still, "Precious" is at its best when it spends time in the classroom, and when we get to know a host of tough, smart characters on their own terms.
These sequences rival those in the recent French film "The Class." We root for these survivors, not because they're being set up as rooting interests by the filmmakers, but because their back-and-forth is so sharp and vivid and dynamic. These supporting characters keep the movie hopping. It's not an easy film to watch. But neither, for many reasons, is "Precious" easy to forget.
"Precious" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: R (for child abuse including sexual assault and pervasive language).
Running time: 1:49.
Cast: Gabourey Sidibe (Precious); Mo'Nique (Mary);
Credits: Directed by
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