Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

2009

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Critics Consensus

Precious is a grim yet ultimately triumphant film about abuse and inner-city life, largely bolstered by exceptional performances from its cast.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 235

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 141,192

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Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire Photos

Movie Info

Monster's Ball producer Lee Daniels follows up his 2005 directorial debut, Shadowboxer, with this adaptation of author Sapphire's best-selling novel about an overweight, illiterate African-American teen from Harlem who discovers an alternate path in life after she begins attending a new school. Clareece "Precious" Jones is only a teenager, yet she's about to give birth to her second child. Unable to read or write, Clareece shows little prospect for the future until discovering that she has been accepted into an alternative school. There, with a little help from a sympathetic teacher (Paula Patton) and a kindly nurse (Lenny Kravitiz), the young girl receives something that most teens never get -- a chance to start over. Mo'nique co-stars in an inspirational drama featuring the debut performance of screen newcomer Gabourey "Gabbie" Sidibe. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast

Paula Patton
as Ms. Rain
Mariah Carey
as Mrs. Weiss
Lenny Kravitz
as Nurse John
Aunt Dot
as Toosie
Nealla Gordon
as Mrs. Lichtenstein
Grace Hightower
as Social Worker
Barret Mindell
as Tom Cruise
Bill Sage
as Mr. Wicher
Susan L. Taylor
as Fairy Godmother
Kendall Toombs
as Abdul, newborn
Alexander Toombs
as Abdul, newborn
Cory Davis
as Abdul, 9 months
Sapphire Boyce
as Day Care Woman
Linda Watson
as Female Clerk
Emani Reid
as Girl #1
Ashley Livingston
as Girl With Jermaine
Maurizio Arseni
as Italian Language Instructor
Mugga
as KFC Cashier
Joye Davoren
as Lady #2
Silje Vallevik
as Pretty Blond Girl
Ephraim Benton
as Skinny Boy #1
Shortee Redd
as Skinny Boy #2
Timothy Allen Smith
as Skinny Boy #3
Kola Ogundrian
as Skinny Man
Christopher Joseph
as Unruly Boy #1
Victor Woodley
as Unruly Boy #2
View All

News & Interviews for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Critic Reviews for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

All Critics (235) | Top Critics (54) | Fresh (215) | Rotten (20)

  • When discussing comedians who became dramatic actors, Oscar winners Robin Williams and Jamie Foxx come to mind, as do Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. But none had a more extreme transformation than Mo'Nique for Precious.

    March 31, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The performances of Sidibe and Mo'Nique are extraordinary and spellbinding.

    January 17, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • The remarkable Sidibe is one of several daring casting choices by director Lee Daniels.

    April 4, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

    Rafer Guzman

    Newsday
    Top Critic
  • Precious is an emotional powerhouse, a triumph of bruising humor and bracing hope that deserves its place among the year's best films.

    February 2, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Precious is a triumph of the soul, a triumph of a film and a heart-warming story that will touch all but the toughest cynics.

    February 14, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A film full of life and love, well-meaning and, judging by the reaction in the US, a genuine and important phenomenon that says act - don't dwell - on your dreams.

    February 2, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Dave Calhoun

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

  • Mar 08, 2013
    Deriving from some controversial source material, "Precious" is a very well made picture with performances that will blow your mind. It is definitely a film for people with strong stomaches and someone who can cope well with watching or hearing about rape. It revolves around the life of Clareece, an abused teenager who has never gone to school and is raped by her father to birth children into the family. Her transformation out of the family is really what the core of this movie is about, and it is shown with pure wonder, with some very cool stylistic techniques and questionable editing. This film feels a little too explicit at times, but I loved watching it, and it's very commendable. Definitely worth it's praise!
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Jun 30, 2012
    'Precious' should probably be rated higher than 2 1/2 stars, but I found the movie so depressing. I prefer my entertainment less realistic than this I guess.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2012
    Clareece 'Precious' Jones: Please don't lie to me, Ms. Rain! Love ain't done nothing for me... but beat me... rape me... call me an animal! Make me feel worthless! Make me sick!  "Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is... Precious." Feel good entertainment Precious is not. This is a film of excruciating heartache and depression. The story of Precious Jones is not one that will make you happy. What it will do is make you feel compassion for a character that has gone through terrible things, yet tries to better her life and make changes, not just for herself, but for her kids also. The film is painful to watch, as it is relentless in telling the story of Precious. Lee Daniels directs it with incredible subtlety when you look at the material. It could have been handled in a more over the top way, but Daniels does a perfect job in balancing everything out. Where the film takes off is with the performances. There isn't a bad one in the film. Monique obviously won an Oscar for her superb performance, but there were a few others that were nearly as good.  Precious(the film) tells the story of Precious(the 16 year old girl). Precious lives in poverty with a mother that is physically and emotionally abusive. She also is pregnant with her second child. If it isn't bad enough that a 16 year old girl would have two kids; they both are the result of her father raping her. Precious is kicked out of her normal school for being pregnant and finds refuge in an alternative school and a teacher that pushes her to learn and to change her life. The synopsis tells it all. This is not the sort of story you watch for enjoyment. It should take an emotional toll on you. It sure did me. Going away from the subject material, there is a lot to like in the way the making of the film was handled. Lee Daniels direction is solid. I love the independent approach to the movie, with the camerawork, but especially with the casting decisions. All the cast members aren't what you'd expect to be watching in a movie this good. They are all bold choices, and that's what really set the movie apart. This cast ended up being nothing short of perfect. This is a film that I would recommend, but it is also one that I would caution some on watching. Is it a really good movie? Yeah. But the subject matter could be too much for some people. Even though the film isn't really about the incest or the abuse; it may be too depressing or heart wrenching for some to handle. If you can get over that though, you are in for a film of immense power.  
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 03, 2012
    "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" is a masterpiece. I didn't expect a film like this to be so powerful and one cannot be moved by the events that lay ahead. This picture just blew me away to tears. Gabourey Sidibe's performance is amazing. She plays as the 16 year old illiterate Claireece "Precious" Jones who deals with a lot of abusement in her life. She gets pregnant twice by her father, gets physically, mentally and sexually abused by her mother, gets pushed and teased harshfully by the kids in her area, suffers from being overweight and is seen as unattractive to others and finally she cannot read and write. It is when Precious meets a caring teacher that is willing to change her life and become a better human being. Sidibe becomes the character and it is magical. It is one of the best performances I have ever seen on screen. The same goes to Mo'Nique. I did not expect her to be so good and not only is she good but she is very good as Precious's abusive mother Mary, who envies her own daughter once Mary finds out that her very own daughter's been pregant by her father. Mo'Nique has been in mostly comedic/sitcom parts but I don't believe anyone didn't know what to expect seeing her in this film. She instantly becomes Mary who is machismo, cruel, heartless, vain, and abusive. The very last scene is her last hurrah and watch how she takes command. This is one of the best performances in Mo'Nique career and probably the most realistic. Paula Patton plays as Blu Ray who has an eye out for Precious and is willing to work with her and get her through her tough times in life, John McFadden (Lenny Kravitz) who is a male nurse who is caring and sympathetic to Precious after she has her child and is willing to send her some money to support herself, Sherri Shepherd plays as one of the staff secretaries who seems to almost had enough of her job seeing carefree students everyday, Robert DeNiro's wife Grace Hightower has a cameo but the biggest shock was seeing Mariah Carey as the social worker Ms. Weiss. Carey manages to strip away the glitter that people is so use to seeing into a normal, almost real social worker. Sidibe adds a bit of improv questions to Carey and it's amazing how well she handles them back. "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" is a real film, a moving film and once again a picture that made my jaw drop. After watching director Lee Daniels terrible "Shadowboxer" he hits one out of the park this time with sheer force and captivates, hope, determination and brilliance.
    Brian R Super Reviewer

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