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Precious (2009)

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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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2,951 ( 286)
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:

Precious: Base on Nol by Saf (Based on the Novel 'Push' 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

The film was produced independently by Lee Daniels Entertainment, and the completed film was caught in a battle between potential distributors The Weinstein Company and Lionsgate after its initial success at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Tyler Perry's 34th Street Films signed on to lend promotional assistance to the production, and Perry's existing relationship with Lionsgate helped land the film a release through that distributor. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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

Columbia Pictures Television Logo Music
From the Television Series 227 (1985)
Written by Timothy Thompson
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fresh, honest and emotionally punchy
26 October 2009 | by FramescourerSee all my reviews

A fine film. An American urban working class drama, it manages to steer clear of almost every possible idiomatic pothole created by predecessors charging blithely down the same street. It seems real - only the controlled framing tells you that it's not a documentary to begin with - it's often funny, and has wonderfully placed surreal day-dream sequences (I wasn't a fan of these per se, but I liked how they were used). The Dangerous Minds/Freedom Writers school of contrived classroom turnaround is completely avoided (with one notable exception). The final set piece is one of the most raw, emotionally bruising and uplifting things I've seen in a cinema for a very long time; everyone was crying.

At the centre is (worthy Oscar tip) Gabby Sidibe as the eponymous Clareece Precious Jones. The fact that her middle name is not some sort of irony lever is a testament not only to Lee Daniels but also to her iron performance. It's also impressive that the satellite cast act with the character she is digging out (yes, even Mariah Carey, an amazing metamorphosis). It would be so simple and safe for everyone to treat Clareece as the fat girl whose acts garner pity and pathos. That is not this film, not by a very long way.

The film achieves so much. It's relentlessly warm and human - a middle- class audience, such as the one I was in at the 53rd London Film Festival, doesn't need to nod sagely and side with the protagonists as abstract figures representing a life of alternative fortune. There's too much to enjoy and synchronise with. Consequently, when the bad things happen they are spasm-in-the-auditorium shocking. Brilliant. 8/10


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