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Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'nique, Paula Patton, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey

Director: Lee Daniels

Here's an often harrowing film that wears its heart firmly on its sleeve. Immensely overweight at 16, and expecting her second child, both by her own father, Clarice Precious Jones (Sidibe) is thrown out of junior high and ends up in a special class run by Miss Raine (Patton).

Occasionally, Precious dreams of a glamorous future for herself, but the reality is life in a wretched flat with a screaming, cursing, slatternly mother (father has vanished), who expects Precious not only to be a skivvy, but also collect benefit cheques and pull the wool over the eyes of a hard-skinned social worker (Carey, with dark hair and no makeup).

It's isn't clear why the husband would want to have constant sex with an unattractive heavyweight teenager when his wife was quite sveltly sexy by comparison, but I suppose these things do happen. At any rate, all the performances, even Carey's, are good, and Mo'nique, as the violent mother who has acquiesced to her only daughter's abuse, then stuffed her face with food to make her even more fat and unattractive, is just sensational.

However, the film is undeniably heavy going at times and you still fear for Precious's future at the (slightly upbeat) end.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Icon. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Jan 2010