Out on DVD | Precious – Grim tale with a fairytale ending, off screen at least

Precious - Gabourey Sidibe plays an unloved teenager in 1980s New York

Are you ready for a grim story?

Precious is an illiterate, morbidly obese teenage girl in late-1980s New York and she leads a life of almost unremitting misery in this harrowing movie based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

She lives in a squalid Harlem tenement. Her vicious, drug-addicted mother uses her as a verbal and physical punching bag. She has a Down’s syndrome baby. The baby’s dad is her own father. He’s mostly absent but has been raping her since infancy. She is currently pregnant by him for a second time. Her school has kicked her out…

There’s no fairytale ending for Precious the character (indeed, things get even worse for her before they improve), but in real life there has been a fairytale ending for Precious the movie – the film won six Oscar nominations, including a nod for newcomer Gabourey Sidibe‘s astonishing performance in the title role, and it carried off two of the gongs – one for screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, and one for Mo’Nique, who is scarily good as the abusive mother.

Precious the character has a fairy godmother of sorts in the form of the inspirational teacher (played by Paula Patton), who encourages her to take her first steps towards independence. Precious the movie had a fairy godmother too – Oprah Winfrey, who signed on as executive producer and gave debutant director Lee Daniels’ film a high-profile promotional boost.

Read the full Precious review.

Released on 24th May.


To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.