Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire is a film that will grab you and tangle you up in the pain and suffering of the characters, and refuse to release you until the final words of the film appear on the screen. It is a difficult film to watch, but through all of the ugliness Precious has to endure, she maintains a strong sense of hope that lives on the screen.

Precious (played by first time performer Gabby Sidibe) is overweight, illiterate and pregnant with her second child from her father (both babies were the result of being raped). To her, Precious has nothing going for her, and is reminded of it on a day to day basis by her mother, Mary (Mo’Nique). She is several grades behind in school and does not seem to be improving. Her principle finds out about her second pregnancy at 16, and realizes that Precious needs to be in an environment that will better suit her needs.

Precious, against her mother’s demands, enrolls in an alternative school for students who want to receive their GED. This school allows Precious to escape the torture of her every day life, and work with people who have fallen as hard as she has. Precious’ teacher, Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) takes her under her wing and, for once, someone sees Precious as a person of worth, unlike everyone else in her life.

Precious is not an easy film to watch. Director Lee Daniels never hides any of Precious’ story. She was raped by her father, as her mother watched. Her mother abuses her, physically and verbally, on a daily basis and we have to endure the pain that Precious receives.

The performances in Precious are heartbreaking and breathtaking. When people think of Mo’Nique, they think of the rather loud comedian. Little did I (I’m assuming anyone else) know of her capability to deliver a haunting performance as a monster of a mother, where she has to tap into a hidden rage inside of her. Not only is Mary a evil woman, she is a sick one, and a later scene in the film will shows this, and it devastates. Equally surprising is Mariah Carey, who has a small role as a social worker. Her scenes with Precious feel so real that it is like we are in the room with them.

Then there is newcomer Gabby Sidibe, whose first ever performance is in Precious. I dare you to watch this film and question that it’s her first time acting, because she is able to convey the range of emotions required of her in such a brilliant way, that one can argue she has been acting for years.

Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Shappire

Director: Lee Daniels

Starring: Gabby Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey

Rated: R(for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language)

Rating(out of 10): 9