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A number of novels by black authors have been adapted into films over the years. But, few have mirrored the impact that Precious has. Adapted from the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire, Precious is based on the fictional life of Claireece “Precious” Jones, a 16-year-old living in Harlem who has been the subject of verbal, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother, Mary (played by Mo’Nique) and her stepfather, Carl (Rodney “Bear” Jackson).
After fathering both of Precious’ children, Carl leaves the family with Mary placing blame on Precious for his departure and their failed relationship. This leads to further physical and verbal abuse by Mary, resulting in a social worker, Ms. Weiss (played by Mariah Carey) and one of Precious’ teachers, Blu Rain (played by Paula Patton), to step in and help restore her confidence and give her life a renewed purpose.
Released on November 6, 2009, and boasting a star-studded supporting cast that also included Sherri Shepherd and Lenny Kravitz, Precious was a seismic hit, raking in over $63 million at the box office and receiving acclaim as one of the best films of that year. Receiving six nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Lee Daniels), and Best Actress (Gabourey Sidibe), Precious netted Mo’Nique the award for Best Supporting Actress, while Geoffrey Fletcher won for Best Adapted Screenplay — he even became the first African-American to achieve this feat.
A tragic story with a heartwarming ending, Precious stands as one of the iconic films of the past decade and continues to resonate with viewers young and old. In light of the 10th anniversary of its release, REVOLT TV looks back at seven moments from the film that made it must-see cinema.
1. Precious’ Showdown With Mary
Mary’s temper boils over following Ms. Weiss’ visit to her home, resulting in her threatening and berating Precious while mocking her aspirations for pursuing an education. The scene, which ends with Mary chasing down her daughter, is one of the rawest displays of their toxic relationship.
2. The Stolen Chicken Scene
Food, particularly of the fried variety, is a constant in the film and accounts for one of its more humorous moments. With minimal funds to her name, Precious pulls a dine-and-dash move at the local chicken shack and makes a smooth getaway with her ten-piece bucket.
3. The Slap Heard Around The Class
Gathering an unruly group of teens in a classroom is sure to result in a fair share of tense encounters, which occurs during this memorable clip from the film. As the drama gets thick, Precious delivers a thunderous slap to one of her classmates, marking a major turning point in her interactions with the other pupils.
4. Precious’ Daydream
Down on her luck with her self-esteem dwindling, Precious is subjected to further ridicule at the hands of a group of young men during a stroll through her neighborhood. However, in the midst of the encounter, she envisions herself as a prancing diva and the object of a fictional lover’s desires, until a stray pup draws her back to her harsh reality.
5. Mary Attacks Precious And Her Grandchild
The extent of Mary’s hatred for Precious is captured in this harrowing scene, which finds her transforming from a nurturer into a neglectful abuser in a matter of seconds. Tossing her own grandchild to the ground before provoking a fight with her daughter, and attempting to hit her with a TV, Mary’s wrath knows no end.
6. Nothing To Write Today
Precious’ discovery of a life-altering diagnosis, which she shares with her teacher and classmates, is among the most sobering moments in the film. Breaking down emotionally while delivering her testimony, Precious’ extended family of friends help console her, accounting for an intense scene that continues to leave viewers speechless.
7. Mary’s Confession
Mo’Nique’s Academy award-winning performance as Mary in Precious earned rave reviews. However, this enthralling clip played a big part in securing her the honor. Revealing her transgressions and missteps as a mother, Mary seeks redemption and understanding; but is ultimately left standing alone, as Precious steps toward a better quality of life.