The movie is based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire and shows dreadful reality of Harlem. The cast of the movie is perfectly chosen and this is one of the most powerful and intriguing elements of this film. It is extremely interesting, how the male director could portray the female characters of the film with such carefulness. All the female characters of the film are well developed and complicated.
This film is full of contradictions. This is the internal conflict of the protagonist, her desire for love, glory and self-hatred, as well as the desire to die. The fundamental contradiction is the mother who hates her ugly daughter and young girl, who can not imagine her life without her children. It is also the desire of the young girl to enter the college, and her mother's rejection of everything that is connected with the study.
First of all, it should be said that the movie is filled with strong, interesting, and nuanced female characters. Nowadays, when woman is often relegated to simple, romantic comedies and bit part in “male-centric” films; where plus-sized Black women barely star in popular films at all, the movie Precious is a truly welcomed break. Taking into account the lack of decent portrayals of Black people in cinematography today, there arise the question - whether does the cinemagoer really need some other movie that highlights all the most negative actions that might happen to a young black plus-sized woman?
The young girl Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) has not any education and social skills. She spends all her time in a dark and dirty apartment, preparing food for the mother. TV is the only spiritual repast for her. Her life is an endless round of "TV / food / violence." No wonder that she finds a way out of daily hell in her weird fantasies. In that other world, the crowd admires her, and what is even more valuable - the mother loves her. Her heart is open to the beauty and light. The indomitable spirit, that refuses to take the blows of fate that attack her, exists in her heart. Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones is the shining star of her own fantasies. Her mother Mary tries to destroy her daughter’s self-esteem in order she to grow into a servant. However, Clareece is a clever and patient daughter - the one thing she wants above all is her mother’s love.
For instance, though Precious’ mother Mary Lee Johnston is characterized as a villain, she cannot be totally seen in such terms. Even though she commits truly horrible acts of abuse and violence against her daughter throughout the film, the viewer learns that there’s more than meets the eye and that her actions are motivated only by her own insecurities and fears. She may be a villain, but she is not evil, in some way like Precious, she is a victim of her own circumstances. Precious’s mother is an extremely contradictory character. Her explanation at the end of the movie about needing “love” was not enough for many people. They can argue that every person wishes to have this feeling, but he does not necessarily become abuser when he does not receive it. The mother is defiantly proud of her lack of education, unlike the beautiful teacher.
What were the social, cultural, and economic forces that made a woman grow into a violent monster? Probably, Precious’ mother suffered from deprivation of love and trauma early in her childhood. Perhaps, Mary Lee Johnston experienced a chronic lack of empathy. For the first sight, it may seem that the poor woman was stuck between a man and a daughter. The woman is portrayed as she is forced to make a difficult choice between them.
Nowadays, this dilemma is not rare, especially because of patriarchal heterosexist society that privileges the beliefs, lives, and experiences of men.
The result of this depriving is that she did not gain the ability to empathize with others, especially her daughter. With this in mind, it should be said that here is a cycle of abuse.
Precious patiently endures unbridled psychological, sexual and physical abuse by her parents; thus she even feels comfortable in school where she is an object for ridicules. At the very beginning of the movie Precious is illiterate, obese and pregnant. Her father raped her with the silent mother’s agreement. She must live with her psychologically, physically, and cruel mother. Precious tries to find some way in order to escape from her tiny world. She needs someone to love and be beloved by him. She even believes that the mathematics teacher loves her, thus protects him from the ridicules of classmates.
At the very end of a movie Precious transforms from a teen-ager who truly believes that she can be beautiful only by having fair skin and blonde hair, into a woman who, like most adolescents, believes in her own attractiveness and is becoming comfortable in her own body. Thanks to her own efforts, despite the resistance of the mother, she enters the alternative school, where she meets a caring teacher (too good to be true), and classmates who are not perfect, but have enough compassion to support her. Every girl from the Precious’s class is gorgeous and differs from another.
The actress, who plays Precious convey teen attitude to the lowest details. Precious’s teacher Blue Rain, who played the leading role in the formation of girl is one of the three main female characters of this movie. Blue Rain is the positive personification of everything Precious would like to see in her mother and herself - patience, beauty, white skin and intelligence. Some rare episodes of hope, warmth, and humor from her classmates and teacher Blue Rain have made Precious bearable to all anxieties.
As for the abused children, in rare cases, they get a chance for recovery if they find people who are able to offer them empathy. Blue Rain became such a person for Precious. The woman helped Precious find her voice, to feel present; in other words, to feel human.
However, the most daedal character plays Monique. Her play is such a revelation that nobody knows from what source she draws emotional inspiration. Her character of the sadistic mother created with such ferocity and is so shocking and realistic that it seems remarkably incredible. It is extremely difficult and courageous role. Her self-serving monologue (no doubt, the core scene of the film) is perfect the audience was tremendously impressed. However, it is just a small glimpse of Mary’s humanity. It should be said that the similar character in another movie may be depicted as utterly one-dimensional.
In spite the fact that the narrative of a teen-age girl is quite simple, but the strengths of this movie are in its extremely powerful dialogues and the particularly strong performances from all female characters. As for cruel mother, comic actress, Monique is completely contemptible and terrifying. Her tremendous performance is notwithstanding. Mother’s astonishing stupidity and ignorance only enforce with her anti-educational commentaries. Every female character of this movie differs from another.
If films had the color, a cold grey and red would dominate in Precious. The main emotions of the movie are pain and hope. The sound of the movie is a heartbeat.