In Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school.
Official Selection, 2009 Toronto International Film Festival
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Lee Daniels’ adaptation of Sapphire’s 1996 novel Push is a story of hard-earned redemption, focusing on Harlem high-school student Precious (Gabourey Sidibe). Pregnant by her abusive father, who was in turn enabled by her monstrous mother (Mo’Nique), Precious is befriended by a sympathetic teacher (Paula Patton) and offered the tools to turn her life around, if she has the will. Geoffrey Fletcher’s screenplay doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of Precious’ world, but Daniels refuses to turn Precious into condescending misery porn. Instead, he keeps his focus on Sidibe’s open-hearted performance, showing us Precious’ slow awakening to the very concept of possibility and her determination to do whatever it takes to build a better life for herself and the child she’s carrying. With the benediction of executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, Precious won the People’s Choice Award at TIFF in 2009 — putting the film on the track to win Oscars for Fletcher’s script and Mo’Nique’s performance. More than a decade later, Precious still lands hard.
Content advisory: scenes of sexual violence involving a minor and domestic violence; theme of incest; sexually suggestive scene, coarse language