Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Precious”

(Lionsgate. 1 hour, 50 minutes. Rated R for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language. Directed by Lee Daniels.) Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe (Precious), Mo’Nique (Mary), Paula Patton (Ms. Rain), Mariah Carey (Mrs. Weiss), Lenny Kravitz (Nurse John). Music by Mario Grigorov.

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Clareece Precious Jones (Sidibe) is an overweight, nearly illiterate girl growing up in Harlem in the late 1980s. When she becomes pregnant with her second child, Precious is sent to an alternative school where she meets teacher Ms. Rain (Patton) and social worker Mrs. Weiss (Carey). With their help, she begins a journey toward self-realization and healing. A tragic, harrowing, affecting and uplifting film.

I haven’t exactly lived a sheltered life, but I found myself thankful that I haven’t had to deal with anything near what Precious endures. The psychological and physical abuse doled out by her mother, and the sexual abuse from her father are scarier than any scene from any horror movie I’ve seen in years. This is largely due to the debut performance of Sidibe, who really brings Precious to life. I felt an almost-instantaneous connection with her as we see her dreams played out in lavish cutaway sequences against a backdrop of violence and regret. It can be hard to watch. Director Daniels makes a few interesting casting choices that really work. Comedian Mo’Nique is complex and terrifying as Precious’s mother, a character who is every bit as understandable as she is unsympathetic. Singer Mariah Carey is surprisingly solid as a buttoned-down social worker. Precious’s teacher and classmates are handled well, but aren’t exceptional. The grit and realism of the setting give the film a hard edge, but it always rings true, avoiding the typical pratfalls of excess sentiment or preachiness that trip up similar films. Early buzz says Precious has some Oscar potential, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the ballot.

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Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies. After being hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, he proceeded to bounce between...

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