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Precious [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 537 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Precious Jones; an inner-city high school girl; is illiterate; overweight; and pregnant... again. Nave and abused; Precious responds to a glimmer of hope when a door is opened by an alternative-school teacher. She is faced with the choice to follow opportunity and test her own boundaries. Prepare for shock; revelation and celebration.

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Not every movie can survive the kind of hype--multiple awards at Sundance and other festivals, rapturous reviews, nominated for six Academy Awards and winner of two, for Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay--that greeted the release of Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, but this extraordinary piece of work is more than up to the task. What's particularly notable about the film's success and acclaim is that in the beginning, at least, it presents one of the grimmest scenarios imaginable. The scene is Harlem, New York, in 1987. Teenager Clarisse Precious Jones (played by newcomer Gabourey Sibide in an absolutely fearless performance) is dirt poor, morbidly obese, semiliterate, and pregnant for the second time--both courtesy of her own father (the first baby was born with Down syndrome). Her home life is several levels below Hell, as her bitter, vengeful welfare mother, Mary (Mo'Nique, in a role that has generated legitimate Oscar® buzz), abuses her both physically and otherwise (telling Precious she should have aborted her is only the worst of a relentless flood of insults and vitriol). Yet somehow, the young woman still has hopes and dreams (depicted in a series of delightful fantasy sequences). She enrolls in an alternative school, where a young teacher (Paula Patton) takes her under her wing and even into her home, and visits a social worker (an excellent Mariah Carey; fellow pop star Lenny Kravitz is also effective as a male nurse) who further helps bring Precious out of the darkness. Incredibly, Precious's circumstances deteriorate even more before showing the slightest sign of improvement, and a climactic confrontation with her mother is one of the more wrenching scenes in recent memory. But against all odds, director Lee Daniels, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (working from Sapphire's novel), and especially the wondrously affecting Sibide have managed to make Precious a film that will lift the viewer far higher up that one might ever have thought possible. --Sam Graham


Special Features

Audio commentary with director Lee Daniels
From Push to Precious
A "Precious" Ensemble
Oprah and Tyler: A Project of Passion
A Conversation with author Sapphire and director Lee Daniels
Deleted Scene: The Incest Survivor Meeting
Gabourey Sidibe audition
Reflections on Precious

Product Details

  • Actors: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique
  • Directors: Lee Daniels
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (537 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002VECM4A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,368 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Precious [DVD]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Perhaps "thought provoking" isn't the right phrase to use. This movie will whip you about and leave you breathless, most especially if you've never really considered the plight of children/people like Precious.

I have been teaching adult students for a little over ten years now, and I have had many women whose backgrounds were similar to Precious' background, so the subject matter wasn't new to me. I expected to be moved, but I didn't expect to have to struggle to stop crying after the movie was over.

The movie is about a teenager named Precious (a truly ironic name, as she is told and shown repeatedly that she is NOT precious to anyone in her immediate circle) and the horrific circumstances of her life at the age of 16. She is pregnant with her second child, the product of incest (her "father" rapes her, a fact which her mother chooses instead to see as Precious threatening her by taking away her man and giving him more babies than he ever allowed the mom to have), and she is barely holding together some semblance of a normal life by keeping her true circumstances from everyone around her.

When her school principal becomes aware of her pregnancy, she decides to send Precious to an alternative school, and for the first time, the teenager has an opportunity to see her own potential and to have that potential respected by others. It's a truly life-altering opportunity, and Precious takes it.

What's really amazing in this film is the excellence of the acting. You've likely heard time and time again how Mariah Carey doesn't wear makeup and looks haggard and old, and you've probably heard about Monique's superb turn as Precious' mother. What can't be conveyed without you actually watching the movie is what all that means.
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To my surprise, this soul-baring 2009 drama is neither as painful nor depressing as the subject matter would imply. In fact, director Lee Daniels' treatment alternates so fluently between gritty realism, social uplift, and fanciful episodes of fantasy that the end result is as much enthralling as it is emotionally draining. First-time screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher does a solid job adapting the 1996 source novel by Sapphire, Push, but the strength and honesty of the cast is what sears in the memory. Daniels could have been otherwise charged with stunt casting had he not drawn out such powerhouse work from the out-of-left-field likes of comedienne Mo'Nique and pop diva Mariah Carey. Granted Daniels in his second directorial effort is not the most subtle of filmmakers (his first film was the strangely exotic Shadowboxer), but he does bring a level of florid passion that the subject desperately needs to alleviate the unrelenting bleakness of the title character's existence.

Set in Harlem in 1987, the story centers on sixteen-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones, a morbidly obese girl so void of self-worth that she refers to herself without irony as "ugly black grease to be washed from the street". Nearly illiterate, she finds herself pregnant for the second time by her father, and the school principal arranges to enroll Precious at an "alternative" institution. She recognizes this as an opportunity to better herself, but her mother Mary discourages it and forces Precious to apply for welfare.
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This movie shows the reality of lives that are affected by incest and where choice seems a fairy tale. Both of Precious' parents are locked in a life of immorality and illegality and have no way out. Precious too seems headed down that road but for the intervention of her principal that moves her to an alternative school where she can get individual attention and where her past does not have to swallow her. Much abusive language but the effect puts the viewer into Precious' life so that you too can experience the threats and put downs. Not for the faint hearted but more films like this are needed to awake the world to the effects of incest and ridicule. First class acting throughout. A must see really! It is ironic that all of the people I know named Precious have had lives that attempted to stunt their development. What's in a name?
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Format: DVD
Precious is a very difficult film to watch, the subject matter is really hard to swallow - a father that rapes his daughter many times, an abusive mother, and how that girl, Precious, lives with the damage done. This is a compelling movie, one that plays over and over for many women, more than should ever have to feel what Precious felt.

My initial reaction to the film was one of predictability, amazement at Mo'Nique's performance, and yes it was a sad movie with a silver lining. In a rare moment for my wife, we watched the DVD bonus features just after the film. My view of the film completely changed. These are remarkable features. The biggest surprise was the audition tape for Gabourey Sibide, Precious. I've seen a lot of audition reels; this is the best I've ever seen. The interview with Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey (her bit was the least interesting) about why they took on this film was illuminating. There is an incredible discussion with Sapphire, the author of the book Push. And then there is the classic 'behind the scenes' cast member talking heads that sets a whole new standard for what these should be. The interview with Gabby is incredible. There were a few more features, but these made me appreciate the film in a whole new light.

Initially, Mo'Nique's performance was the standout. After reflection, every single cast member was spectacular. At first I understood the Academy Award going to Mo'Nique, she's a better known actress, the competition for supporting actress was much lighter, and the Academy needed to acknowledge this film somehow (the shame of not awarding it something would be too great). And I thought Sandra Bullock deserved best actress. After seeing the performance by Gabourey, that award went to the wrong person.
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