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Precious (2009)

R | | Drama | 20 November 2009 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Lee Daniels

Writers:

Geoffrey Fletcher (screenplay), Sapphire (novel)
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Popularity
2,631 ( 446)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 112 wins & 98 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Aunt Dot ... Toosie
Nealla Gordon ... Mrs. Lichtenstein
Grace Hightower ... Socialworker
Barret Helms Barret Helms ... Tom Cruise (as Barret Isaiah Mindell)
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Storyline

In Harlem, 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is an illiterate, overweight black girl. She is pregnant with her second child, both children fathered by her biological father, who has continually raped her since she was a child, but who she doesn't see otherwise. Her infant daughter, Mongo - such named since she has Down Syndrome - lives with Precious' grandmother. Precious lives with her mother Mary, who abuses Precious both physically and emotionally. Mary does nothing but smoke, watch television and collect welfare through fraud (as she doesn't ever look for a job) and believes that education does nothing for Precious, who she would rather also collect welfare if only to bring money into the household. To escape her life, Precious often daydreams of herself in glamorous situations. Because of her current pregnancy, Precious' principal transfers her into an alternative school. In dealing with the school's sympathetic teacher Miss Blu Rain,... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Genuine Work Of Art. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

20 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,872,458, 8 November 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$47,395,661, 7 March 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Prescious is meeting with Mrs. Weiss for the first time, it appears that Mrs. Weiss is wearing only one earing on her right ear. See more »

Quotes

[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 »


Soundtracks

No. 7 Librera Me
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Leonard Bernstein
Courtesy of Sony Masterwork
A Unit of SONY Music Entertainment
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Powerfully emotive story filled with hope and optimism
25 January 2009 | by wmjahoSee all my reviews

I'm not surprised that Push won both the Grand Jury and Audience Award at Sundance this year. Director Lee Daniels (Shadowboxer) has created a very powerful film that manages to entertain while evoking a broad spectrum of emotions, from anger and heartbreaking pity to optimism, joy and hope.

Clareece "Precious" Jones (Gabby Sidibe) is a fat 16-year-old illiterate black girl that lives in Harlem with her welfare-dependent, abusive mother (Mo'Nique). She has one autistic daughter (who lives with her grandmother) and is pregnant with another child, both from her mother's boyfriend, who is also Clareece's father. Her mother repeatedly tells her how stupid and worthless she is while other kids taunt her for her obesity. She has become hardened and heartless, lacking education and social skills. She spends her time cooking for her mother and fantasizing unrealistically about a glamorous life. She would be easy to dismiss. Based on a novel by Sapphire, this is some pretty bleak stuff.

But good things can happen in this world and Precious is blessed with an indomitable spirit that refuses to accept the negative reinforcement that bombards her. Through her efforts, and despite resistance from her mother, she finds an alternative school. It is staffed by Miss Rains, a caring teacher (Paula Patton) and classmates who, although anything but perfect, possess enough compassion to become supportive friends. It turn out that the world can be a pretty good place.

First-time actress Gabby Sidibe gives a powerful, emotive performance. Equally good is talented actresses Mo'Nique, who is almost frightening as Precious' mother, and Patton as the compassionate teacher. Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey also have minor roles, giving the film a little star power.

Daniels conveys a Harlem existence that is profane, hard-edged and brutal, but with rays of humanity and compassion that leave room for hope. It is at once both a message to the poor in spirit not to despair, and to the rest of us make the time and effort to reach out where we can. Push is an inspiring message that will fill you with optimism and joy.

Sundance Moment: When asked about her getting the role, Sidibe said that she had some acting experience--like a non-speaking role in a college production. Pretty funny! She said her friends encouraged her to audition because she "fit the profile." She also said she relied heavily on "Mr. Daniels" for direction. Daniels said there were parts of making the movie that were hard on him emotionally--like directing Precious to eat, or instructing her peers to bully her.


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