EXPECTATIONS: I’ve read some pretty glowing reviews for this film, but I’m still wary that it’s going to be way to annoyingly tear jerky with little else. It also has a ridiculously long title.
REALITY: For the most part this is a convincing portrayal of a story that we never see on screen. The main character, Clarice Precious Jones, is an obese 16 year old girl, who has had one baby by her father and is pregnant with another. Clarice gets herself through awful situations by escaping into her mind and fantasising about being famous or having a boyfriend. She is sent to a special school where she is put into a classroom with five other girls and we see her grow and learn throughout the film.
The plot is fairly straight forward, but the performances are mostly subtle enough that the awfulness of Precious’ home life seems real. Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz both have small roles in this film for some reason, but they are almost unrecognisable and they both give pretty good performances. I never thought I would ever be typing that sentence.
I think where the film fails for me is when it decides to just push things that little bit further. After 75 minutes or so the film feels finished, and then we get an extra bit of bad news for Precious; her father is HIV positive and he has passed that on to Precious. I just felt like the film makers wanted me to be a bit more upset than I already was, and it just felt forced and tacked on. However the final scene, where Precious confronts her mother, was worth waiting for.
Precious is pretty grim, but it manages for the most part to stay realistic and not dwell in uber-nastiness and get a little silly, like a Darren Aronofsky film. The realistic portrayal of the horrible stuff is also balanced with the convincing friendly relationships that Precious makes at her new school.