Forgive the pun, but child abuse is a very touchy topic. This was all I really knew about this film upon entering the theater for what I will truncate as Precious. All I knew was that it was about a pregnant 16-year-old who is carrying her father’s child. If you think that is more than enough to turn you away then you’ll be missing out on one of the year's most superbly acted films.
Mo’Nique is not whom you’d call a household name and with her past choices in film and her stand-up, it’s not totally surprising. Okay, she may be a household name for some, but not for your standard Utah art house crowd. If she keeps giving performances like her portrayal of Mary, lead character Precious’s (Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe) mother, she will be.
Gabby Sidibe has never been in a film before and again forgive the pun, has quite a heavy load to bear. Playing an obese 16-year-old teen impregnated by her mother’s boyfriend (who also happens to be her own father) who is also illiterate is more than most actresses would ever dream of attempting in their film debut.
While she holds up very well in the dramatic and surprisingly hilarious moments, I truly hope she isn’t another one-trick pony who winds up suffering from Jennifer Hudson Syndrome. After bursting into the Hollywood spotlight in her Academy-nominated role in Dreamgirls, Hudson has since been degraded to second fiddle roles in the likes of the Sex and the City film or has taken part in films that most have not seen (Winged Creatures, The Secret Life of Bees).
In Precious we meet the young title character who likes to be called by her middle name, which is Precious. She lives with her mother, Mary, who is abusive beyond the likes I’ve seen in films lately. Here is a mother who is not scared to beat her child, smoke a cigarette while holding a newborn, and will throw a television set at your head down a flight of stairs.