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Precious (2009/II) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 102 | slideshow) Videos (see all 11)
Precious -- In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen (Sidibe) 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.
Precious -- Clip: Nurse John
Precious -- Gabourey Sidibe talks Precious
Precious -- TV Spot: Life
Precious -- In Harlem, an overweight, illiterate teen (Sidibe) 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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Down 1% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay)
Sapphire (novel)
View company contact information for Precious on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 November 2009 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 106 wins & 74 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Powerhouse Performances Tower Over a Harrowing Yet Enthralling Tale of Redemption See more (262 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Gabourey Sidibe ... Precious

Mo'Nique ... Mary

Paula Patton ... Ms. Rain

Mariah Carey ... Ms. Weiss

Sherri Shepherd ... Cornrows

Lenny Kravitz ... Nurse John

Stephanie Andujar ... Rita

Chyna Layne ... Rhonda

Amina Robinson ... Jermaine

Xosha Roquemore ... Joann
Angelic Zambrana ... Consuelo
Aunt Dot ... Toosie

Nealla Gordon ... Mrs. Lichtenstein

Grace Hightower ... Socialworker

Barret Helms ... Tom Cruise (as Barret Isaiah Mindell)

Kimberly Russell ... Katherine

Bill Sage ... Mr. Wicher
Susan Taylor ... Fairy Godmother
Kendall Toombs ... Abdul, New Born
Alexander Toombs ... Abdul, New Born
Cory Davis ... Abdul, 9 Months
Rochelle McNaughton ... AIDS Clerk
Roy Anthony Tarell Harvey ... Boy #1

Abigail Savage ... Bunny
Rodney 'Bear' Jackson ... Carl (as Rodney Bear Jackson)

Sapphire ... Day Care Woman
Linda Watson ... Female Clerk
Emani Reid ... Girl #1
Dashawn Robinson ... Girl #2
Ashley Livingston ... Girl with Jermaine
Maurizio Arseni ... Italian Language Instructor
Mugga ... KFC Cashier

Chazz Menendez ... Man #1 Exits Elevator (St)

Roy T. Anderson ... Man #2 Exits Elevator (St)
Quisha Powell ... Mongo
Vivien Eng ... Nurse
Silje Vallevik ... Pretty Blonde Girl
Matthew Bralow ... Reggie (as Matt Bralow)
Shayla Stewart ... Ruby
Erica Watson ... Sheila (as Erica Faye Watson)
Ephraim Benton ... Skinny Boy #1
Shortee Red ... Skinny Boy #2 (as Shortee Redd)
Timothy Allen ... Skinny Boy #3
Nigel Joaquin ... Unruly Boy #1
Esley Tate ... Unruly Boy #2
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
January Adams ... Student (uncredited)

Dick Clark ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Patty Duke ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Michael Jeremiah ... Vagrant (uncredited)

Martin Luther King ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

David Kneeream ... Doorman (uncredited)

Tristan Laurence ... David (uncredited)
Deborah Lohse ... Lady #1 (uncredited)
Kola Ogundiran ... Skinny Man (uncredited)
Catherine Pierce ... Social Worker (uncredited)

Lorna Pruce ... HIV Social Worker (uncredited)

John Reese ... Chior Boy (uncredited)

Rose Sias ... Ferocious Woman (uncredited)

Dolores Winn ... Homeless Woman (uncredited)

DeWanda Wise ... Miriam (uncredited)
Malcolm X ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Lee Daniels 
Writing credits
Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay)

Sapphire (novel "Push")

Produced by
Lisa Cortes .... executive producer (as Lisa Cortés)
Lee Daniels .... producer
Tom Heller .... executive producer
Valerie Hoffman .... additional line producer
Asger Hussain .... associate producer
Gary Magness .... producer
Mark G. Mathis .... co-producer
Tyler Perry .... executive producer
Andy Sforzini .... associate producer (as Andrew Sforzini)
Simone Sheffield .... co-executive producer
Sarah Siegel-Magness .... producer
Bergen Swanson .... additional line producer
Oprah Winfrey .... executive producer
Original Music by
Mario Grigorov 
Cinematography by
Andrew Dunn (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Joe Klotz 
Casting by
Billy Hopkins 
Jessica Kelly 
Production Design by
Roshelle Berliner 
Art Direction by
Matteo De Cosmo 
Set Decoration by
Kelley Burney 
Paul Weathered 
Costume Design by
Marina Draghici 
Makeup Department
Belinda Anderson .... hair department head
Carol 'Ci Ci' Campbell .... assistant hair stylist
Damaris Gandy .... makeup artist: family album photos
Jackie Noel .... assistant hair stylist
Nzingha .... assistant makeup artist
Barbara Roman .... assistant hair stylist
Charlotte Scott .... assistant hair stylist
Tomasina Smith .... key makeup artist
Nikki Tucker .... hair department head
Toy Van Lierop .... makeup department head (as Toy R. Van Lierop)
Tobe West .... key makeup artist
Leo Won .... assistant makeup artist (as Leo Wong)
Ande Yung .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Patrick Gibbons .... additional unit production manager (as Patrick D. Gibbons)
Tony Hernandez .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Mirashyam Blakeslee .... additional second assistant director
Thomas Fatone .... additional first assistant director (as Tom Fatone)
Tracey Hinds .... second assistant director
Michael A. Pinckney .... second second assistant director (as Michael 'Boogie' Pinckney)
Chip Signore .... first assistant director
Kim Thompson .... additional second assistant director
Art Department
Sarah Berney .... charge scenic
Mary Blanchard .... camera scenic
Dominick Cocuzzo .... key construction grip
Frank DeCurtis .... leadman
Guido DeCurtis .... leadman
Louise DeCurtis .... set dresser
Peter DeCurtis .... set dresser
Thomas A. Delillo .... leadman (as Tom DeLillot)
Joanna Hartell .... set dresser
Richard Hebrank .... construction coordinator (as Rich Hebrink)
Bradley Klipp .... set dresser (as Brad Klipp)
Michele Mayas .... charge scenic
Carlton McClarence .... set dresser
Melissa B. Miller .... art department coordinator
Adam Pessah .... graffiti artist
O. Valerie Pratt .... additional art department coordinator
Travis Quegan .... property
Daniel Ritchel .... first property assistant
Keyri Soto .... graffiti artist (as Keyri 'Key' Soto)
Cathy Wassylenko .... camera scenic
Paul Weathered .... on-set dresser
Sabrina Wright .... property master
Paul Camarro .... set dresser (uncredited)
Robert Castillo .... storyboard artist (uncredited)
Amy Dholakia-Jorand .... additional graphic artist (uncredited)
Shannon Finnerty .... buyer (uncredited)
Cherie Kroll .... graphic designer (uncredited)
Vanessa Merrill .... graphic designer (uncredited)
Kevin L. Raper .... graphic artist (uncredited)
Diana Shaller .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Dennis Tillberg .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Brian Bowles .... sound re-recording mixer
Vince Camuto Sr. .... boom operator
Ryan Collison .... foley engineer
Robert Fernandez .... additional sound re-recording mixer
Peter Fonda .... boom operator utilty
Eugene Gearty .... sound effects editor
Anguibe Guindo .... boom operator
Matthew Haasch .... foley editor (as Matt Haasch)
Robert Hein .... sound re-recording mixer
Robert Hein .... supervising sound editor
Mike Howells .... adr recordist
Ken Ishii .... sound mixer
Bobby Johanson .... adr mixer
Lawrence Loewinger .... sound mixer (as Larry Loewinger)
James Nichols .... sound consultant: Dolby
Joe Origlieri .... sound utility
Glenfield Payne .... sound effects editor
Jay Peck .... foley artist
Sam Perry .... boom operator
Adam Sanchez .... boom operator
Reilly Steele .... sound re-recording mixer (as Riley Steele)
Thomas Varga .... sound mixer (as Tom Varga)
David Wahnon .... assistant sound editor
Special Effects by
Peter Kunz .... special effects supervisor
Robert J. Scupp .... special effects supervisor (as Robert Scupp)
Visual Effects by
Adam Avitabile .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Colleen Bachman .... visual effects producer
Eran Barnea .... compositor
Derek Bird .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Michael Capton .... 3d supervisor
Christian Cardona .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Henrik Fett .... visual effects supervisor: LOOK! Effects
Jenny Foster .... visual effects producer: LOOK Effects
Kristyn Hume .... animator: main titles, Postillion Studios
Christopher Ivins .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Brad Kalinoski .... compositing supervisor: LOOK Effects
Danny S. Kim .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects (as Danny Kim)
Anthony Mabin .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Jesse Morrow .... visual effects: Technicolor New York
Migs Rustia .... visual effects editor: LOOK Effects
Joseph Ryals .... imaging and film recording: Tecghnicolor New York
Gabriel Sanchez .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Chad Schott .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Dan Schrecker .... visual effects supervisor
Daniel Silverman .... imaging and film recording: Technicolor New York
Paul Stemmer .... visual effects editor: LOOK Effects
Andranik Taranyan .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Niko Tavernise .... digital compositor: LOOK Effects
Morgan Miller .... digital fixes and clean-up (uncredited)
Paola Varvaro .... digital artist: digital restoration (uncredited)
Mike Burke .... stunt driver
Nicole Callender .... stunt double: Ruby
Jwaundace Candece .... stunt double: Mary
Roy Farfel .... stunt coordinator
Gene Harrison .... stunt coordinator (as Gene Harris)
Naomi Peters .... stunt double: Mrs. Lichenstein
Joanna Shelmidine .... stunt fight
Derrick Simmons .... stunt double: Precious
Roy T. Anderson .... stunts (uncredited)
Joanna Shelmidine .... stunts (uncredited)
Rose Sias .... stunt performer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Agliata .... camera operator
Charlie Beyer .... first assistant camera
John Billeci .... generator operator
Steven Capitano Calitri .... stage electric (as Steve Calitri)
Andrew Casey .... camera operator: "b" camera
Andrew Cavagnet .... vtr operator
Rashad Clinton .... company grip
John Coots .... best boy electric
Howard J. Cournoyer .... shop electric (as Howie Cournoyer)
John Donohue Jr. .... company grip
John Donohue .... company grip
John Donohue .... dolly grip
Joe Doughan .... best boy grip
Stanley Fernandez Jr. .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Gavin Fernandez .... loader
James J. Ferris .... company electric (as Jim Ferris)
Anne Marie Fox .... still photographer
Sam Friedman .... best boy electric
Michael Gallart .... company electric (as Mike Gallart)
Denny Kortze .... second assistant camera
Dan Kubicek .... company electric
Thomas Landi .... company electric (as Tom Landi)
Kurt Lennig .... rigging gaffer
Charles Libin .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Charlie Libin)
Jonathan Lumley .... gaffer
Derek J. Manganelli .... loader (as Derek Manganelli)
Edgar Martin .... dolly grip: "a" camera
Paul Nichols .... best boy grip
John O'Malley .... company electric
Neil O'Malley .... best boy grip
Paul Owens .... documentary videographer
Noah Prince .... best boy electric
Christopher Raymond .... second assistant camera: "b" camera (as Chris Raymond)
Guillaume Renberg .... remote head operator
Eric P. Robinson .... second assistant camera: "b" camera (as Eric Robinson)
Eddie Rodriguez .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Marcos Rodríguez-Quijano .... second assistant camera: "b" camera (as Marcos Rodriquez)
Jesse L. Saviola .... company grip (as Jesse Savoila)
George Selden .... company electric (as George Seldon)
Ken Shibata .... gaffer
Asif Siddiky .... documentary videographer
Tim Smythe .... key grip
David Stern .... key grip: additional photography
Frank Stubblefield .... generator operator
James Turner .... company grip
Dan Vranesich .... dolly grip: "b" camera
Tom Weston .... camera operator: "b" camera
Todd Armitage .... camera operator (uncredited)
Christian Baird .... electrician (uncredited)
Nick Bentgen .... additional electrician (uncredited)
Hugo Bonilla .... electrician (uncredited)
Kevin L. Bright .... grip (uncredited)
Andrew Greve .... additional electrician (uncredited)
Erik Guldbech .... additional set electrician (uncredited)
Adam Hall .... grip (uncredited)
Mike Jackson .... best boy electric (uncredited)
Denny Kortze .... steadicam operator (uncredited)
Bill Lucia .... electrician (uncredited)
Michael C. Maronna .... generator operator (uncredited)
Alexander Martin .... lighting technician (uncredited)
James McFadyen .... electrician (uncredited)
Paul C. McKenna .... technician: Technocrane (uncredited)
Mike Morini .... dolly grip (uncredited)
Iris Ng .... rigging best boy electric (uncredited)
Rome Petersson .... additional electrician (uncredited)
Mike Quigley .... electrician (uncredited)
Ray Richards .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Sean Sheridan .... gaffer (uncredited)
Yoshi Sonoda .... electrician (uncredited)
David Woolner .... electrician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Leah Daniels .... casting associate: Los Angeles
Diane Heery .... casting associate: Philadelphia (as Diane Henry)
Monique Link .... extras casting
James Mattram .... extras casting assistant (as James Mottram)
Winsome Sinclair .... extras casting
Matt Sinsheimer .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lisa Cortes .... special wardrobe: Mo'Nique and Ms. Sidibe (as Lisa Cortés)
Trenton Dallas .... costume production assistant
Trayce Gigi Field .... assistant costume designer (as Trayce Field)
Jill Flowers .... wardrobe supervisor
Eric Johnson .... costume production assistant
Anne Kenney .... assistant costume designer
Aissatou Parks .... set costumer (as Icey Parks)
Daniele Rooks .... costume production assistant
Amy J. Smith .... costumer
Anya Taraboulsy .... costume intern
Diana J. Collins .... set costumer (uncredited)
Gabriel Crawford .... costume production assistant (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Dana Bloder .... digital intermediate producer
Jessica Elvin .... digital intermediate editorial
Emman England .... post-production intern
Matthew H. Giordano .... assistant editor (as Matt Giordano)
Barbara Jean Kearney .... digital intermediate executive producer
Eric Leverenz .... digital intermediate technical assistant
Nicola McKenzie .... post-production intern
Melissa Murray .... post-production intern
Hilary Peabody .... assistant editor
Lamont Pierre .... post-production intern
Tim Stipan .... digital intermediate colorist
Leslie Swiedler .... post-production intern
Kevin Vale .... digital film scanning and recording
Michael Viftrup .... post-production intern (as Michael Viftrup Jensen)
Joe Violante .... dailies advisor: Technicolor New York (as Joey Violante)
Michael P. Whipple .... digital intermediate engineer
Jason Crump .... colorist: dailies (uncredited)
Charles Herzfeld .... post facility supervisor (uncredited)
Richie Roefaro .... editorial assistant: Technicolor (uncredited)
John W. Wayland .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Lynn Fainchtein .... music supervisor
Mario Grigorov .... additional musician: piano, rhodes, wurlitzer, celeste
Eric Hirsch .... music editor
Rubin Kodheli .... additional musician: cello
Kevin Teasley .... composer: additional music
Entcho Todorov .... additional musician: violin
Evan Eneman .... score producer (uncredited)
Jay Faires .... music executive (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Frank Appedu III .... driver: hair/makeup/wardrobe
Ed Battista .... transportation captain
George Campbell .... driver: 15 pass
Reginald Crute .... driver: electric truck (as Reg Crute)
Reno Devivo .... driver: 15 pass
Kevin Flynn .... transportation captain
Roy Fortier .... driver: set dressing (as Rori Fortier)
Chris Godfrey .... driver: hair/makeup combo
George Grenier .... driver: grip
Kenyatta Jackson .... driver: camera truck
Jim Kelly .... transportation co-captain
Raphael Matos .... driver: prop truck
John Moresco .... driver: 15 pass
Francis Nugent .... driver: camera (as Fran Nugent)
Dominick Riccardi .... driver: set dresser truck
Louis Rodriguez .... driver: honeywagon (as Lou Rodgriguez)
Carl Russell .... driver: 3 room trailer
Kevin Smith .... driver: props
Russ Swanson .... driver: grip tractor
Brian Walker .... driver: hair/makeup honeywagon
Paul Weiner .... driver: grip/electric truck
Other crew
Tara Andrus .... production accountant
Rick Bartholomy .... location assistant
Derek Beacher .... production intern
Melissa Bostian .... production intern
Leah Bostic .... production assistant: extras
Steve Boyle .... post-production accountant: JFA Inc.
Desiree Brown .... production intern
Jeff Caron .... location manager
Al Castellanos .... location assistant
Robert Castillo .... visual consultant
Carol A. Compton .... script clearance researcher: IndieClear (as Carol Compton)
Colin Cumberbatch .... production office coordinator
Tomas Deckaj .... key set production assistant (as Tom 'Dutch' Deckaj)
Anne Marie Dentici .... production assistant: paperwork
Kesho DeSouza .... set production assistant trainee: France
Tim DeWayne .... unit production assistant (as Tim Antwine)
James Ervin .... choreographer
Kristen Everman .... office production assistant
Steve Faughnan .... location assistant
Tre Ferrell .... production intern
Anika Gibbons .... production secretary
Catherine Gore .... additional script supervisor
Quincy Gow .... office production assistant
Jonathan Gray .... production counsel
Elizabeth Hanley .... post-production accountant: JFA Inc.
Omar Hernandez .... office production assistant
Mary Hill .... international festival publicity team
Morgan Howard .... production accountant: JFA Inc.
Kristyn Hume .... main title designer: Postillion Studios
Janet S. Jones .... teacher consultant
Paul B.W. Kang .... production intern (as Paul Kang)
Chris Kocses .... production assistant: walkie
Gray Krauss .... production counsel
Christine Leaman .... location manager (as Christine Leaman Rake)
Kristina Lee .... assistant production office coordinator
Zakiya Lucas .... extras production assistant
Cisco Marcial .... parking coordinator (as Cisco Marcia)
Stephanie A. Marquardt .... script supervisor
LeRoy McCarthy .... location manager
Rob McEntegart .... senior executive vice president: Lionsgate Motion Picture Group
Chuck McWorther .... production assistant: walkie (as Chuck McWhorter)
Israel Medina .... craft service
Mecca Miles .... office production assistant
Agustin Moran .... set production assistant
Tony Osso .... script supervisor
Kevin Pazmino .... key set production assistant
Anthony Peart .... set production assistant
Kia Perry .... production assistant: first team
Tyler Perry .... presenter
Dominique Phelps .... assistant: Mr. Daniels
Lynda Reynolds .... assistant chef
Michael K. Reynolds .... chef (as Mike Reynolds)
Reid Rosefelt .... unit publicist
Jonathan E. Rotberg .... office production assistant (as Jonathan Rotberg)
Alexandra Ruiz .... office production assistant
Da'oud Saunders .... production intern
Carmen L. Scott .... production assistant: first team (as Carmen Scott)
John Skidmore .... assistant: Mr. Hernandez
Daryl Sledge .... set production assistant
Lemarze Smith .... production intern (as Lemars=ze J. Smith)
Joseph Stephans .... assistant location manager
Michael Stewart .... set production assistant
José Tejada .... parking coordinator
Jessica Thorne .... production accountant: JFA Inc.
Edmund Tomaselli .... set medic
Alicia Van Couvering .... clearance and product placement
Joe Violante .... dailies advisor: Technicolor New York (as Joey Violante)
Oprah Winfrey .... presenter
Stephen Winter .... clearance consultant
Daniel M. Wong .... key set production assistant
Carole Wurst .... executive assistant: Tyler Perry
Ronda Bell .... assistant: Mo'Nique (uncredited)
Nicholas Bryan .... production assistant (uncredited)
Sean Bryan .... production assistant (uncredited)
Candice Cardasis .... production assistant (uncredited)
Dana Corl .... production assistant: reshoots (uncredited)
Kristyn DiPane .... mastering project manager (uncredited)
Orit Greenberg .... location scout (uncredited)
Rolando Hudson .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Brendan Kehoe .... assistant location manager (uncredited)
Richard T. Lynch .... production assistant (uncredited)
Gary Ousdahl .... executive assistant: Tyler Perry (uncredited)
Nikki Taylor Roberts .... production assistant (uncredited)
Vanessa Lee Rodd .... location scout: reshoots (uncredited)
Gregory Routt .... location manager (uncredited)
Lauren Vanderschuur .... production assistant (uncredited)
Sharon Watt .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Hughroy Williams .... location assistant (uncredited)
Andrew Casey .... in loving memory of
Tonya Dokken .... the producers wish to thank
Kianga Ellis .... the producers wish to thank
Karen Giordano .... the producers wish to thank
Pat Golden .... the producers wish to thank
Jason Jones .... the producers wish to thank
Steve Knudson .... the producers wish to thank
Todd Livingston .... the producers wish to thank
Wellington Love .... the producers wish to thank
Doreen S. Oliver-Akinnuoye .... the producers wish to thank
David Robinson .... the producers wish to thank
Hilary Stabb .... the producers wish to thank
Rebel Steiner .... the producers wish to thank
Sara Sugihara .... the producers wish to thank
André Leon Talley .... the producers wish to thank

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Precious: Base on Nol by Saf (Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire)" - USA (complete title)
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" - USA (promotional title)
"Push" - USA (festival title)
See more »
Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language
110 min | Canada:109 min (Toronto International Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:16 | Australia:MA | Brazil:16 | Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Denmark:11 | Finland:K-15 | Germany:12 | Hong Kong:IIB | Ireland:15A | Japan:R15+ | Mexico:B15 | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:R16 | Norway:15 | Portugal:M/16 | Singapore:M18 | South Korea:18 | Spain:13 | Sweden:11 | Switzerland:14 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:14 (canton of Vaud) | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #45477)

Did You Know?

Gabourey Sidibe worked with Lenny Kravitz in this movie, then with his daughter Zoë Kravitz in her next film, Yelling to the Sky (2011).See more »
Errors in geography: Precious is supposed to be living in Harlem, yet when she takes the '1' train to the alternative school, the train station clearly says "Dyckman" which is in Washington Heights, not Harlem. In addition, she gets off at the "167th St." station on her way to the alternative school. The school is on 125th St. in Harlem in Manhattan, the 167th St. station is in the Bronx.See more »
[first lines]
Clareece 'Precious' Jones:[voiceover] 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?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Somethin's Comin' My WaySee more »


How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
What's with the extra long title?
What is 'Precious' about?
See more »
34 out of 58 people found the following review useful.
Powerhouse Performances Tower Over a Harrowing Yet Enthralling Tale of Redemption, 5 December 2009
Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA

To my surprise, this soul-baring 2009 drama is neither as painful nor depressing as the subject matter would imply. In fact, director Lee Daniels' treatment alternates so fluently between gritty realism, social uplift, and fanciful episodes of fantasy that the end result is as much enthralling as it is emotionally draining. First-time screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher does a solid job adapting the 1996 source novel by Sapphire, "Push", but the strength and honesty of the cast is what sears in the memory. Daniels could have been otherwise charged with stunt casting had he not drawn out such powerhouse work from the out-of-left-field likes of comedienne Mo'Nique and pop diva Mariah Carey. Granted Daniels in his second directorial effort is not the most subtle of filmmakers (his first film was the strangely exotic "Shadowboxer"), but he does bring a level of florid passion that the subject desperately needs to alleviate the unrelenting bleakness of the title character's existence.

Set in Harlem in 1987, the story centers on sixteen-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones, a morbidly obese girl so void of self-worth that she refers to herself without irony as "ugly black grease to be washed from the street". Nearly illiterate, she finds herself pregnant for the second time by her father, and the school principal arranges to enroll Precious at an "alternative" institution. She recognizes this as an opportunity to better herself, but her mother Mary discourages it and forces Precious to apply for welfare. The unenviable mother-daughter relationship is the crux of the film, and it is here the film gives an unblinking account of monstrous physical and psychological abuse that explains the sharp contrast between Precious' inner and outer lives. On the outside, she is a forlorn yet formidable presence with a face so full that she can't express emotion without a great deal of effort. On the inside, she is loved and admired unconditionally. The two slowly come together at Precious' new school where she finds acceptance and redemption through a dedicated teacher (improbably named Blu Rain), who must get through to a classroom full of girls all disadvantaged in their own ways.

The birth of Precious' son, along with the bonding she feels at school, signals a harrowing showdown between mother and daughter and ultimately a confrontation between Mary and Mrs. Weiss, the no-nonsense social worker who seeks the truth behind Precious' home life. In the title role, Gabourey Sidibe is ideally cast given the film's semi-documentary approach. An untrained actress, she is able to elicit empathy by giving herself completely to the inchoate character, and when Precious breaks down from the weight of yet another seemingly insurmountable development, Sidibe gives the scene a halting honesty. Paula Patton ("Swing Vote") gets to play the Sidney Poitier role of the elegantly transformative teacher as Ms. Rain, but she gives the too-good-to-be-true character a palpable sense of passion. As Mrs. Weiss, a role originally slated for Helen Mirren (who co-starred in Daniels' "Shadowboxer"), Mariah Carey, bereft of her glistening make-up and diva mannerisms, brings an audacious toughness to her smallish but pivotal role.

However, it is Mo'Nique ("Phat Girlz") that gives the film's most shattering performance. I don't know what emotional reservoir she is tapping into, but she nails Mary with a fury so startling and realistic that it's impossible to trivialize the source of her villainy. She never compromises the hardness in her character, and her self-justifying monologue is an impressive piece of work. There is also solid work from a couple of other unusually cast performers, comedienne Sherri Shepherd (of the morning TV talkfest "The View") as a tough school administrator aptly named Cornrows and Lenny Kravitz as a sympathetic male nurse, and a scene-stealing turn from Xosha Roquemore as the ebullient Joann ("My favorite color is florescent beige"). Not all of Daniels' left-turn devices work, for instance, using Sophia Loren's "Two Women" as the basis of one of Precious' fantasies seems contrived given only a die-hard cineaste would understand the connection. Regardless, it's no wonder that Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry put their stamp of approval on the film as executive producers since Precious ultimately finds a personal triumph despite the hard life has dealt her.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Precious (2009)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
I didn't see any white people involved in the film carollia
Precious' mom was severly mentally ill. dogma66605
Precious' mother was a good mom fatewemake
WTF did i just watch starlincity
Paula Patton? supermomofboys
Where was the father ? Gada96
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