Saturday, November 28, 2009



Gabourey Sidibe: 16-year-old Claireece “Precious” Jones
Mo’Nique: her mother Mary
Paula Patton: Ms. Rain, teacher at Each One Teach One alternative school
Xosha Roquemore: Joann, one of Precious’ Jamaican classmates
Angelic Zambrana: another classmate Consuelo, one with musical aspirations
Mariah Carey: welfare case worker Mrs. Weiss

This story of an ghetto teenager with wild ambitions trying to overcome enormous odds is riveting stuff. The acting is uniformly good but the Oscar-worthy performance by Mo’Nique, although not always easy to watch, is nothing short of amazing.

Mostly shot with a hand-held camera and often dimly lit, this technique captures the grim, desperate mood with expert realism. And speaking of realism: the use of the vernacular is well considered but might result in some of the dialogue not being well understood. However you will likely get the gist of it and so that should not be too much of a problem.

for sexual activity and pervasive language.

According to the opening intertitle these events took place in 1987. While touring a museum Precious sees posted on the wall the famous photo of the standoff in Tiananmen Square. That student protest did not come about until two years later in 1989.

I’ve taken the editorial prerogative to truncate the full title (“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”) as I think it serves no useful purpose to be told that the film is a work of fiction. To me, doing so undermines the fact so much of what we see in the film is all too real. People should be aware of that, not led to think for a moment that it’s all some make believe fairy tale. It is not.

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