Precious is a 2009 American Film. It was directed by Lee Daniels and written by Geoffrey Fletcher. The Film stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz (IMDb).
The Film tells us the story of an obese girl with low self-esteem who is abused by her mother. As a teenager she is pregnant with her second child, as she already had a son from a previous relationship with the father of both children being the same man. In order to avoid losing custody of her children because of neglect and abuse, Precious decides to go back to school where she meets an incredible teacher who believes in her abilities.
The Film preaches against obesity and shows that even fat women can succeed if they believe in themselfs and work hard for their goals. The Film also promotes education as an enabler for success which was shown through Precious’ character development throughout the Film.
“Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”, Film regarding strong willed young woman achieving her goals. Film also shows the effects of obesity on people’s self-image and reflects upon its consequences, including social exclusion. Film able to be viewed as a tool for awareness about issues like teen pregnancy and sexual abuse while showing the power of education in empowering young girls.
Film promoted education as an enabler for success which was shown through Precious’ character development throughout the Film. Film also preaches against obesity and shows that even fat women can succeed if they believe in themselfs and work hard for their goals. Film able to be viewed as a tool for awareness about issues like teen pregnancy, sexual abuse and how it affects society’s perception of obese people(Research Report).
Film directed by Lee Daniels, Film written by Geoffrey Fletcher. Film has an all African-American cast which includes Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.
Precious is deeply troubled but the most dangerous threat to her existence comes from within, i.e., herself. She bears a child at age 16 with no father figure in sight.
The movie begins extremely dramatically by showing Precious being slapped hard across her face by her mother Mary Lee, following an impulsive act of stealing candy bars for herself and for her mentally ill brother Abdul who eats one after another, robbing them of their nourishment.
The audience also feels excruciatingly sorry for Precious’ illiteracy which gives rise to the biggest obstacle she has to overcome during her African-American teen pregnancy journey. Despite all this maltreatment, deep down inside she nurtures glimmers of hope through kindness offered by two unlikely sources: her school teacher and social worker. She discovers resilience within herself while fighting off depression, and she learns to appreciate life and the little things in it even with her limited mental capacity.
Precious suffers from a lack of education: unable to read or write. She is also obese, incestuously raped by her father figure, emotionally abused by her mother Mary Lee, physically abused by her mother’s boyfriend (and the father of her child), socially isolated because of obesity and illiteracy, and has an unplanned pregnancy at age 16 that brings shame upon both herself and her family.
Precious depicts the life of an overweight black teen, who is pregnant with her second child, living in poverty, abused by family members, being pushed to drop out of high school, and living in a world where all she can do is hope for any type of change. The film opens with Precious eating ice cream as if it was her last meal. As her story unfolds through voice-over narration (which also seems like inner monologues), we see that Precious has already given birth twice; once to a daughter (Molly) at fourteen years old and then again to another daughter (Sapphire) at sixteen years old.
Her classmates tease her because of her weight and make fun of the fact that she cannot comprehend simple sentences, let alone read a chapter book. She is constantly victimized and humiliated by her family (especially the father) and the school staff (including principal). It becomes evident that Precious lives in a world where everyone is out to get her; there is no justice or fairness. However, when she meets with social worker Ms. Weiss, there may be hope for change after all.
The film does an excellent job of depicting how oppression can take place in such specific ways through fat-shaming, sexual abuse, low socioeconomic status, illiteracy, and racism/prejudice within society. Furthermore, Precious’ character shows the audience what it means to be oppressed in more than one way: she’s poor and obese and cannot afford the luxury of having food readily available for her. Ms. Weiss is hopeful that Precious can get an education and turn her life around.
However, Precious’ mother Mary agrees to sign the papers for Precious to be enrolled in an alternative school only if she continues to work at night in order to pay rent. As the story unfolds, the audience sees how Precious’ journey is filled with roadblocks but also unexpected surprises. One important idea this film brings up is the fact that people are all interconnected through various social structures (i. e. , ethnicity, socioeconomic status).
The concept of “intersectionality” refers to how various facets of identity are connected and cannot be separated from one another because they all play a role in oppression and the maintenance of oppression (Collins, 2000). For example, there is an obvious intersectionality that takes place with Precious and her identity as a black teen living in poverty who has been sexually abused because she isn’t taken seriously by society as a victim.
That intersectionality exists because people do not expect “that type” of person to be traumatized as such. It becomes easy for Precious to be discounted as someone whose word cannot be trusted or believed. This reminds people to think outside their preconceived notions and biases about various groups of people. Another important idea the film brings up is how knowledge and education are tools that help oppressed people find change within oppressive structures and work toward justice and equality within society.
Film scholar Jill Nelmes discusses this idea in the following quote: “The power and value of knowledge is at the heart of many films and media texts and, in terms of representation, has been argued by some to be a central theme when dealing with ‘minorities’ or marginalized groups within society” (para. 11). In other words, knowledge changes one’s perception about various groups of people because it builds empathy toward others.
Precious begins to change when Ms. Weiss introduces her to literature that sparks an interest for reading. Suddenly, Precious feels empowered by being able to read whole sentences correctly rather than saying certain words phonetically because she sees how much knowledge can help someone see further across boundaries rather than staying stuck where they are.