Culture

From the Vault: 'Precious' Based on 'Push' by Sapphire, Starring Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe as Precious © Lionsgate
Gabourey Sidibe as Precious © Lionsgate

In 2009's "Precious," directed by Lee Daniels, first-time actress Gabourey Sidibe plays Clarice Precious Jones, a young girl who is much too easily dismissed. At sixteen, Precious is overweight and illiterate, pregnant twice with her father's daughter, privately abused, and publicly humiliated. But Oscar-nominated director Daniels shows us exactly how precious life can be when you have dreams. Precious' daydreams are artfully infused into the film's linear action, so we may benefit from the  momentary escape that she survives by. The withdrawal is always temporary and the return is always relentless, but in her dreams there is life. When Precious meets Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) she is finally afforded the chance to escape her daydreams and embrace a finer reality, a more sustainable escape and a real chance to change course.

"Precious," based on the book Push by Sapphire, was adapted for the big screen in 2009 by Geoffrey S. Fletcher and Lee Daniels. New York Times film critic A. O. Scott so aptly wrote, "Nimble and self-assured as Mr. Daniels’ direction may be, he could not make you believe in 'Precious' unless you were able to believe in Precious herself." "Precious" is exactly that. If you haven't seen it yet,  what are you waiting for?

"Precious" was nominated for six Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture. Geoffrey S. Fletcher  took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, and Lenny Kravitz.

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