“My name is Clareece Precious Jones. I want to be on the cover of a magazine. I wish a had a light-skinned boyfriend with real nice hair. But first I want to be on one of them BET videos.”

The dream sequences of Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire are similar to the daydreams of every sixteen-old-girl. Dancing on stage or walking the red carpet is something every dreamer imagines, but Precious is different because her daydreams are used to escape from a terrible reality.

Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in a dangerous neighbourhood roamed by crackheads at night; but no one outside of Precious’ home is more dangerous than the person living in it. The teenage girl lives with her mother, Mary (Mo’Nique), an overbearing, physically abusive woman with no compassion for her daughter. Mo’Nique is so bitter, cruel and selfish as Mary, it is hard to believe the actress is also a comedian.

Mary allowed her boyfriend-and Precious’ biological father-to rape Precious since she was a little girl, resulting in the birth of a child with down-syndrome. This child is being raised by Precious’ grandmother, but is brought over when welfare agents inspect Mary’s case, ensuring that she is actually raising her daughter’s child. But a new edition to the Jones household is on its way, as Precious is pregnant with her second child, fathered again by her father. The rape scene is so grossly disturbing, that the film offers Precious-and viewers-an escape into a happier world when the teenager imagines confidently walking the red carpet.

A flash of hope is brought to Precious when she enrolls in Each One Teach One, an alternative learning centre. It is under the tutelage of Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) where Precious learns to read and write, expressing her story and seeking guidance from the kind-hearted teacher. Each One Teach One also offers a glimmer of comedy in the dark film, with quips from Precious’ hilarious classmates Joann (Xosha Roquemore) and Rhonda (Chyna Layne).

Precious Jones overcomes circumstances so disturbing that even social worker Mrs. Weiss (Mariah Carey) cannot handle the situation . From rapes and beatings, to illiteracy and young motherhood, Precious is forced to face obstacles unimaginable to most. This film is more than just the “Oprah movie” or “Mariah Carey film”; it is dark, disturbing, and yet still filled with hope. Whether you are buying a movie ticket because Oprah told you to, Mariah Carey acts in it, or because you read Sapphire’s Push; Precious will take your breath away with its story of endurance, hope and self-acceptance.