Movie Details

PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE

Set in 1987, the story revolves around an obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old girl named Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) who lives in the New York City neighbourhood of Harlem with her dysfunctional family; she has been raped and impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers constant physical and mental abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary (Mo`Nique). The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and subsists on welfare. Her first child, known only as Mongo (short for "Mongoloid"), has Down Syndrome and is being cared for by Precious` grandmother. After Precious was pregnant for the second time, she was suspended from school but her junior high school principal arranged for her to study in an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life`s direction which little by little change her lifestyle. However, things go from bad to worse.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: M18
Release Date: 29 Jul 2010
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes
Distributor: SHAW ORGANISATION
Cast: Mariah Carey, Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Lenny Kravitz, Sherri Shepherd, Paula Patton
Director: Lee Daniels
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Rheus Wai Soh See

Writer Ratings:
Overall:
Cast:
Plot:
Effects: NA
Cinematography:

Watch this if you liked: “Dangerous Minds”, “Freedom Writers”, “Menace II Society”

"Precious: Based On The Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" is quite a mouthful for a movie title, so it's a small relief that this decorated Oscar fave does have something substantial to say. However, like the makers conceded and thanked production ally Oprah Winfrey at the 2009 Awards because "you touched it, so everyone saw it", we really have to wonder if this greatly divisive film isn't just another well-marketed product of white guilt.

Yes, the artistic merit of this drama does come into question, as the eponymous main character Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an overweight, illiterate, impoverished and abused teenager who just happens to be surrounded by some of the nastiest people and also go through some of the worst experiences one possibly can growing up in black Harlem. It's the kind of character arc that invites empathy at first but then descends into a you've-gotta-be-joking credibility problem. Not that we're contending the nature of a grossly underprivileged life in the late 80s, but there is a difference between telling a story about the black underclass and telling a story about how the black underclass view themselves. This Lee Daniels picture is a clear case of the latter but instead of offering any insight into the psyche of any one person who comes from such a background, it is evident by the final reels that "Precious" is an unreflective sob story that strives for some redeeming value that it cannot attain.

For a movie that has been called "con job of the year" to "demeaning the idea of black American life", emotions run strong, especially since we can't call the director or the team racist because they're black. Perhaps it's an instance of reverse racism that the horrendous story of Precious becomes such a celebrated film that has picked up close to 100 awards across film festivals and such. In any case, there is no denying that Mo'Nique's performance as an criminally-abusive mother is a powerful turn that deserves every award it gets, including the most prized one - Best Supporting Actress at the 82nd Academy Awards. The movie as whole features some compelling acting (Gabriel Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd and even Mariah Carey) that lends urgency and strength to the proceedings whatever you might feel about the story.

As a movie experience, you will have to watch "Precious" - but only if you want to discuss it with your friends, and not because you look forward to enjoying it.

Cinema Online, 27 May 2010
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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