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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Gabourey Sidibe
Mo Nique
Paula Patton
Mariah Carey
Sherri Shepherd
Lenny Kravitz.
Directors
Lee Daniels.
Screenwriters
Geoffrey Fletcher .
Running Time
110 minutes

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Precious
Mariah Carey’s in it. Come back! Come back! It's good!


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Plot
Sixteen year-old Precious (Sidibe) is illiterate, obese, physically and mentally abused, and pregnant (again) by her father. When an incident at school finally attracts attention, Precious grabs the lifeline offered by a teaching programme for problem girls.


Review
Precious
Adapted from the award- winning novel Push by author/performance poet Sapphire, and counting Oprah Winfrey among its fans, Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire (to give it its full title) had more going for it from the outset than most ‘small’ indie films. Even so, little can prepare you for its raw power, and a heart-rending journey to self-acceptance and hope.

Producer-(Monster’s Ball)-turned-director Lee Daniels pulls off something that scarcely seems possible. We are challenged with a heroine initially hard to look at, so painfully extreme are her misery and despair. But almost immediately we get into her head, sharing her fantasy of being the fabulously frocked, idolised star at a red carpet event. We wince at her delusional crush, her bullying, at the magnitude of her self-loathing when she sees herself as a pretty, skinny blonde girl. Before long you are walking around in her shoes, fully experiencing her life.

Gabourey Sidibe can’t be detected acting. Her Precious maintains an impassive attitude, making all the more affecting the flashes of fear, anger or, more rarely, delight she exposes when pushed. Mo’Nique, better known as a stand-up comic, courageously plays a mother so monstrous she’d fit into a horror film except that her final, confessional confrontation is so agonisingly real, you’ll only wish you could forget it. In smaller roles, Lenny Kravitz charms as a compassionate nurse, and Mariah Carey may at last be forgiven for Glitter with her strong showing as the social worker who finally uncovers the horrifying story of Precious’ ‘home’ life.

Kudos, too, to British cinematographer Andrew Dunn, best known for his work at the more glamorous end of the spectrum (The Madness Of King George, Gosford Park), but here ably getting down and dirty and mixing things up with Precious’ flights of fantasy into what looks like a flashy TV game show world.

Precious is set in Harlem but is dedicated “to precious girls everywhere” and successfully makes one spare more than a 30-second TV appeal’s thought for all the children whose lives are socially expendable. It gets under the skin so well that seasoned journalists in a packed screening room cried out in unison at one cruelty after another. Seldom has one been so relieved by an uplifting outcome.


Verdict
While it may not be perfect on a technical level, dramatically it’s a blow-your-socks-off triumph. Be moved. Very, very moved.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Precious
Empire Star Rating

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Review

Precious is a grim yet ultimately triumphant film about abuse and inner-city life, largely bolstered by exceptional performances from its cast. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 22:39, 03 March 2012 | Report This Post


Well Acted And, Ultimately, Rather Touching Tale

Precious is definitely unique in its' story and characterization. Equal parts shocking and moving, Precious manages to tread a somewhat fine line between drama and character study, making sure not to tread too far on either side. The character of Precious is certainly an intriguing one, with an affecting performance from Gabourey Sidibe. Acting awards here, must go to Mo'Nique, who, in a role so terrible it should be outlawed, outshines everyone with a stark and shocking touch. Cinematography is... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 22:52, 30 June 2011 | Report This Post


Tragic. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 12:11, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


Ok.......

Amazing acting from all. Average story line with a few very good scenes. Was hoping to get a bit more choked up. Worth a watch ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 00:10, 13 August 2010 | Report This Post


Good Considering The Source Material

I havnt been under a rock so I knew about the book, "Push" and what it is about. So I was expecting extreme bleakness, and depressing though it is if you think about I wasnt expecting this journey. Preciouse is very good and horriffic if you think about all the crueltys. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:41, 17 June 2010 | Report This Post


Good Considering The Source Material

I havnt been under a rock so I knew about the book, "Push" and what it is about. So I was expecting extreme bleakness, and depressing though it is if you think about I wasnt expecting this journey. Preciouse is very good and horriffic if you think about all the crueltys. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 18:41, 17 June 2010 | Report This Post


Totally Agree with Empire's Review.

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" By Sapphire is not the best technical film, the camera movements are quite shaky, which adds to the effect that you think you are watching a documentary. Mo'Nique is amazing in this film, you forget she is acting, just brilliant. Personally I think Gaby should have got the Oscar, because as much as a adore Sandra, I don't think her "Real Housewife" of Tennessee act was good enough. This film made me cry, is was a horror to me not a drama, i... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kurtis93 at 22:33, 15 June 2010 | Report This Post


Precious

Precious is a film that beyond some good performances is a film that has not much to offer. The combination of shocking abuse and appearances from such celebrities as Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Soprano168 at 12:24, 27 April 2010 | Report This Post


Precious

Precious is a film that beyond some good performances is a film that has not much to offer. The combination of shocking abuse and appearances from such celebrities as Lenny Kravitz Mariah Carey leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Soprano168 at 12:23, 27 April 2010 | Report This Post


Precious is good but not that good

Good film. Tough, graphic, unflinching. Great work by Sidibe and Monique but I wouldn't call it the best of the year. I thought the ending could have been better realized. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:45, 29 March 2010 | Report This Post


"Gabourey Sidibe can’t be detected acting." Yeah, that much I agree with. Honestly, the most overrated film in Oscar contention this year, and I really feel Mo'Nique was the most over-hyped of all. Like Avatar, she and Sidibe aren't bad, but come on, guys- best of the year? Not by a long shot. Not to be cruel or shallow but I was frequently reminded of an even less funny version of the Klumps by the over-the-top conflicts and scenery chewing. Hoping I haven't entirely repulsed... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by undesirablenumber1 at 22:47, 15 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Precious

Spoilers! Full on gritty very powerful drama. Monique is unforgettable as the lazy, deceitful and bullying mother to Precious. I gueesed the only reason she could be so horrible to her daughter (who she knew was pregnant for the second time by her husband) who is also Precious father was resentment that she had sex with him more than she did. She was trying to shift responsablity to Precious blaming her for everything which was of course totally unfair and despicable and using her babies t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 16:15, 05 March 2010 | Report This Post


Pre(ten)cious

5 stars?? Are you kidding me? "Be very. very moved"?? How can you be moved when the whole film looks like a VH1 special? The performances are excellent, absolutely, even Mariah Carey's monotonous act is fine, given the character, but come on... It takes a little bit more than a sad story to make a film moving. The violent scenes are shot like a clumsy video spot and all the dramatic moments just fade away. In terms of narrative power and visual impact it's just as shallow as Shadowboxer. Also..... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dylangod at 22:20, 19 February 2010 | Report This Post


The story of an overweight 16 year old black schoolgirl, raped by her father, abused by her mother and expelled from school has all the makings of a Hollywood weepie, but instead this is an incredibly moving, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting story of hope and survival. Mo'Nique, as Precious's horrendous mother, deserves awards for her brave and terrifying performance ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by duncan1964 at 09:29, 10 February 2010 | Report This Post


We follow the underprivlliged, pregnant and obese Precious and her fight for a better life, a good education and especially the fight against her mother. A film in wich over the course of 105 minutes you get an enormous amount of misery poured out over you. The story isn`t too special and the film basically gets saved by the excellent acting performances from Gabourey Sidibe as Precious and especially by stand-up comedian Mo`Nique as her mother. A brilliant performance but other than that it`s ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:50, 09 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Precious

Director: Lee Daniels Screenwriter: Geoffrey Fletcher Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz Synopsis In 1980s Harlem, Precious (Sidibe) an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enrol in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. Review If there is a lesson we learned from last year’s multi-Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, it is this. Just because... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:38, 08 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

just got back from seeing it... I liked it, and felt quite emotional towards the end! strangely, my missus (who adores all the weepy / family / television afternoon movies) was unmoved by the film, and got quite bored Mariah Carey was brilliant, as were the main characters its a pretty harrowing tale, and all it goes horribly wrong for Precious, but the end was uplifting when set against the brutality that makes up the bulk of the film one question? were the cats deaf, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hampstead bandit at 18:39, 08 February 2010 | Report This Post


I find it hard to believe the person who posted a comment that they weren't at all emotionally affected by this film. I think this is one that's going to haunt me for a few more days to come. Some of the most disturbing scenes I've seen in a film for a very long time, made more so by the incredible acting by the ladies playing Precious and her mother. It's all about determination and triumph, of a sort, in the face of horrific circumstances. This isn't the sort of film you'll 'enjoy', bu... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by woozuk79 at 13:05, 08 February 2010 | Report This Post


I find it hard to believe the person who posted a comment that they weren't at all emotionally affected by this film. I think this is one that's going to haunt me for a few more days to come. Some of the most disturbing scenes I've seen in a film for a very long time, made more so by the incredible acting by the ladies playing Precious and her mother. It's all about determination and triumph, of a sort, in the face of horrific circumstances. This isn't the sort of film you'll 'enjoy', bu... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by woozuk79 at 13:05, 08 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Hallmark Bullsh*t

sigh..have to wait a few more months before I can see this..Stupid Finland... ... More

Posted by Heidi80 at 11:26, 08 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Hallmark Bullsh*t

I'm not entirely convinced.  I think this film falls foul to too much hype, which is ashame, because it's far from being a film, I just don't think it's as fantastic as I'd been persuaded it was.    I was fairly bored for the first 30 - 40 minutes of it, and despite Empire's review in particular saying it was very moving, I barely gave it a second thought after the credits rolled.    You can usually tell how great a film is when you're left with a strong after taste th... More

Posted by Sway at 19:48, 05 February 2010 | Report This Post


Hallmark Bullsh*t

Next!....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vascov at 15:23, 04 February 2010 | Report This Post


Thought this was going to be Oscar baiting crap

Boy was I wrong, it's a little uneven and meanders in places and technically speaking we've all seen far better but damn, this film is disturbing and really doesn't pull any punches or sugar coat anything. I was expecting an overblown Oscar baiting TV Movie of the week and instead I got one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen. Fantastic performances too, not just from the two leads (Mo'Nique must get the oscar) but the girls in her class, her teacher and everyone else. Carey ain't too... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Steve Irwin at 00:24, 04 February 2010 | Report This Post


'Why me?" - What a stunning film!!!

Yes - it’s a bit of a slow start, and if you think that the fantasy sequences are supposed to be entertaining, you missed the point (it isn't Scrubs!). This is a harrowing story about a girl who has everything against her. What stands out here are the two performances by the ladies - Gabourey Sidibe as Claireece Precious Jones and Mo'Nique as her mother. If you don't have an emotional reaction to them by the end of the movie, then I'd question as to whether you are alive! Regardless of wha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Funk_Knight at 14:53, 03 February 2010 | Report This Post


I Feel Sad

Man was this a depressing film. Just what I get for this time letting my missus choose the film, she usually let's me do it. Still, a good film none the less, just extremely harrowing until the end. Avoid in the cinema, get it on DVD if you really must. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jefmac69 at 19:53, 01 February 2010 | Report This Post


More user comments


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