Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) is an illiterate 16-year-old junior high school student who's pregnant for the second time by her mother's boyfriend. That sentence alone tells you a lot about this film's intensity—but don't let that scare you away from this revealing and remarkable movie.
It's 1987 in Harlem, and Precious lives with her mother, Mary (Mo'Nique), an angry welfare bum who spends her days on the couch watching game shows and soap operas, expecting Precious to wait on her hand and foot. And when Precious doesn't, or doesn't serve just so, Mary unleashes emotional and physical abuse with a filthy mouth and the nearest heavy object. It's gut-wrenching.
By day Precious is a ninth-grade student who's getting good grades despite the fact she can't read or write. When her guidance counselor discovers Precious is pregnant for the second time, she suggests she try an alternative school, Each One Teach One. Despite her mom's angry instructions to forget education and go sign up for welfare and despite the fact Precious doesn't really know what alternative means, she has a vague notion that this might be the break she's been waiting for. So she goes.
At this new school Precious spends her days in a room with other illiterate and troubled teens under the unwaveringly stern but supportive direction of Ms. Rain (Paula Patton). In their daily assignment to journal for 15 minutes, many of these students are able to give voice to their horrific stories and tentative dreams for the future. And this handful of students forms a sort of fierce family, alternately at each other's throats and guarding each other's backs.
Regardless of all this intensity, the film offers several laugh-out-loud moments that take you ...1