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.
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In Harlem, 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is illiterate and overweight. 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, Precious ...Written by
In one of Precious' fantasies, she is shooting a commercial and we see a clapper. The names on the clapper indicating the director and cinematographer are Lee Daniels and Andrew Dunn, who are the film's director and cinematographer. See more »
A Metrocard advertisement is seen as Precious is walking past a bodega. The movie is set in the 1980s but Metrocards only became available in 1993. See more »
Clareece 'Precious' Jones:
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?
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"My name is Clareece Precious Jones. I want to be on the cover of a magazine. I wish a had a light-skinned boyfriend with good hair. But first I want to be in one of those BET videos."
Precious in the film of the same name is 16, black, overweight, a mother of 2 children by her father, lives in Harlem, and dreams of music videos and a white boyfriend. This powerful slice of poor life seems unremittingly real and when juxtaposed with reality TV, downright authentic.
It's not difficult to see why this deeply affecting character study won top prizes from Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto: Its star is a new talent so immersed in her role that to think of her not being Precious is almost impossible, even for a cynic like me. Proficient with his second film, director Lee Daniels guides diva Mariah Carey into a role as an unforgettably underplayed social worker.
For an educator such as I, the classroom scenes at an alternative school where Precious prepares for the G.E.D are inspiring glimpses of how small classrooms with a gifted, patient teacher (Paula Patton as Ms. Rain) can transform the lost causes into productive citizens. Those scenes and the ones in the hospital where Precious delivers her second child are but brief unreal dreams in their own way of the love that may wait for Precious later in life—not now because her abusive mom still appears and tortures Precious in different ways (skillfully acted by comedienne Mo'Nique).
When Precious sees the endearing relationship her beloved teacher has with her partner, she exclaims, "They talk like people in TV shows that I don't watch." It's a brave, new world for her and a sobering joy for us to vicariously suffer and delight with a character whose weight might symbolize the heavy and complicated world that she may never be able completely to escape .
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