Directed by Lee Daniels
Adapted from bestselling novel Push, by Sapphire
Best Supporting Actress Academy Award® and BAFTA winner for Mo’Nique. A vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome. Set in 1987 it is the story of ‘Precious’ Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) a sixteen year old girl born into a life no one would want. She’s pregnant for the second time by her absent father, at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother (Mo’Nique) a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos and Precious can neither read nor write, but expulsion leads to a life-line in an alternative school and a teacher who will help Precious on a journey from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self determination.
Gabourey Sibibe stars as Precious Jones, a big girl who believes she is dumb and worthless because she is told that everyday by a violent, abusive mother.
Precious finds her hope and redemption through the power of education. Almost completely illiterate at the start, she starts going to school at an alternative program called “Each One Teach One.” The teacher, Ms. Rain (played by Paula Patton) teaches quietly and consistently, and the group of young women begin to wake up their minds and hearts. Through the power of reading and writing, the girls find healing and growth.
This is a powerful movie in which the teacher plays a supporting role to the protagonist, the student. Precious is an unlikely heroine: she moves through life like a shadow, just trying not to get hit or yelled at. She has been abused in every imaginable way, and is at first too traumatized to learn or retain anything.
But from all of this, she rises up. In the safe environment of the classroom under the nurturing wings of the teacher and classmates, she transforms her experience, and this is her triumph. This is a different kind of teacher movie, but it fits the category nonetheless. Powerful production, with absolutely authentic acting that puts you right in the scene.
Real Life Factor: The film is adapted from the novel Push by Sapphire and is not based on a real story. However, it is very realistic, employing authentic-sounding dialogue and refusing to “clean up” the horror of abuse.
Awards: Mo’Nique won for Best Supporting Actress, won for Best Screenplay Writing, nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Editing; Gabourey Sidibe nominated for Best Actress. Directors Guild of America: nominated for Best Directing.
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