Clarice "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an obese teen living in Harlem with her sadistic mother, Mary (Mo'Nique). Mary rarely leaves the apartment. She treats Precious like cook, cleaner, errand runner and whipping girl. Although Precious is 16, she’s still in middle school due to illiteracy, but she scores high in math and other subjects. When the truth comes out about Precious’s second pregnancy, life gets complicated at school and at the welfare office. After being suspended, she enters an alternative program to earn her GED. Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey) at the welfare office starts asking questions about her baby daddy. Meanwhile, Mary spends her time berating Precious about being dumb and a waste of space. Her new teacher, Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), is determined to reset Precious’s self-hate odometer so she can see her own worth. Will Precious be able to overcome the odds?
As you watch Mary’s constant physical and verbal attacks on Precious, you want to escape this attempt at your own escape from reality. Mo’Nique is damn good at evil. Lenny Kravitz as sexy Nurse John is delightful (I didn’t know it was him until final credits.) Precious’s peers at her new school add a great angle and good humor to an otherwise, humorless movie. The scenes depicting Precious dissociating from her abuse are particularly stunning—it’s a cinematic feat the way her mental process is depicted as her body is being accosted. The acting is superb all around. The movie is based on a true story, but even if only a quarter of what happened in the movie was the truth, Sapphire, I salute you. See this but be prepared to feel like road kill afterwards.
Director: Lee Daniels
Run time: 108 minutes