| Our Rating:
L Factor: Major lesbian character
Short Take: A lesbian teacher is key to helping Precious survive
Duration: 109 min
|Director: Lee Daniels
Writer: Geoffrey Fletcher, Sapphire
Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz
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Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) is 15 years old, African-American, barely literate, overweight, living with an abusive mother (Mo’Nique), and now pregnant with her second child – the result of being raped by her father from an early age. She lives in Harlem and under pressure from her mother to quit school and go on welfare, she is helped by a school official who enrolls Precious in an alternative program to get her GED.
This school, with a small classroom filled with young women struggling with lives that are not easy, is a godsend for Precious. She learns to read and at the same time, is helped to dig deep and find some self esteem in the face of a family and a world that says she is absolutely nothing.
Her teacher Ms. Blu Rain (Paula Patton) is loving and instrumental in giving all of the girls in the class a voice and hope for the future. She happens to be a lesbian, something that Precious finds out when she and her tiny baby escape a violent rampage from Precious’ mother. Ms. Rain and her partner take them in until they find more permanent shelter.
Precious says in the voice over: “Mama says homos is bad people. But mama, homos ain’t ones who rape me and what do that make you? Homos aren’t ones who let me sit in class all them years and never learn nothing, and homos not ones who sell crack to people in Harlem. I wonder what Oprah got to say about that? Ms. Rain is the one who put the chalk in my hand.”
This is not an easy film to watch, as you try to imagine such a hard life, with parents who are despicable in almost every sense. Away from those influences, Precious may be on the way to a better life, founded in literacy and self-love. The film, produced by Oprah Winfrey, is based on the novel Push by Sapphire. (AB)