AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Alternate Title: Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire
Director: Lee Daniels (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Nov 2009
Premiere Information:   Sundance Film Festival screening: 16 Jan 2009; Cannes International Film Festival screening: 15 May 2009; AFI Fest: 1 Nov 2009
Production Date:   24 Oct--24 Nov 2007
Duration (in mins):   109
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Cast: Introducing Gabourey Sidibe ([Claireece] Precious [Jones])  
    Mo'Nique (Mary [Jones])  
    Paula Patton (Ms. [Blu] Rain)  
    Mariah Carey (Ms. Weiss)  
    Sherri Shepherd (Cornrows)  
    Lenny Kravitz (Nurse John [McFadden])  
    Stephanie Andujar (Rita)  
    Chyna Layne (Rhonda)  
    Amina Robinson (Jermaine)  
    Xosha Roquemore (Joann)  
    Angelic Zambrana (Consuelo)  
    Aunt Dot (Toosie)  
    Nealla Gordon (Mrs. [Monica] Lichenstein)  
    Grace Hightower (Socialworker)  
    Barret Isaiah Mindell (Tom Cruise)  
    Kimberly Russell (Katherine)  
    Bill Sage (Mr. Wicher)  
    Susan Taylor (Fairy godmother)  
    Kendell Toombs (Abdul [Jamal Jones], new born)  
    Alexander Toombs (Abdul [Jamal Jones], new born)  
    Cory Davis (Abdul [Jamal Jones], 9 months)  
    Rochelle McNaughton (Aids clerk)  
    Roy Anthony Tarell Harvey (Boy #1)  
    Abigail Savage (Bunny)  
    Rodney Bear Jackson (Carl)  
    Sapphire (Day care woman)  
    Linda Watson (Female clerk)  
    Emani Reid (Girl #1)  
    Dashawn Robinson (Girl #2)  
    Ashley Livingston (Girl with Jermaine)  
    Maurizio Arseni (Italian language instructor)  
    Mugga (KFC cashier)  
    Chazz Menendez (Man #1 exits elevator [st])  
    Roy T. Anderson (Man #2 exits elevator [st])  
    Quisha Powell (Mongo)  
    Vivien Eng (Nurse)  
    Silje Vallevik (Pretty blonde girl)  
    Matt Bralow (Reggie)  
    Shayla Stewart (Ruby)  
    Erica Faye Watson (Sheila )  
    Ephraim Benton (Skinny boy #1)  
    Shortee Redd (Skinny boy #2)  
    Timothy Allen (Skinny boy #3)  
    Nigel Joaquin (Unruly boy #1)  
    Esley Tate (Unruly boy #2)  

Summary: In 1987 in Harlem, obese, African American teenager, Claireece “Precious” Jones, trudges to class while reflecting that the three things she wants out of life are a light-skin boyfriend, to be on the cover of a magazine and, primarily, to appear in a BET video, despite the fact that her mother, Mary, does not believe she can dance. Although Precious likes her math teacher, Mr. Wicher, and is good in the subject, she does not participate in class, hoping daily that something will happen to change her life. One afternoon, upon being summoned to see the principal, Monica Lichenstein, Precious refuses to divulge whether or not she is pregnant. When Ms. Lichenstein expresses concern over Precious already having a young child and suggests a parent-teacher conference, Precious advises against it. Regretfully, Ms. Lichenstein suspends Precious, who angrily insists that she is guiltless and her grades are good. At home that evening, when Precious admits that she was unable to get Mary her cigarettes, her mother bashes her in the head with a skillet. Dazed, Precious recalls her father, Carl, raping her and bringing about her pregnancy. Struggling to distance herself from the painful memory, Precious imagines herself glamorously dressed at a film premiere greeting fans with her light skinned, handsome boyfriend at her side. Mary brings Precious out of her dazed imaginings by throwing a pan of water over her. Later that evening as Precious fixes dinner, the front buzzer goes off several times and, upon answering it, Precious is distressed to hear Ms. Lichenstein. Despite Mary’s ominous warning to get rid of the woman, Precious listens while the principal informs her that, based on a recommendation from Mr. Wicher, she has referred Precious to an alternative education program called “Each One-Teach One.” Pleased by Mr. Wicher’s support, Precious ignores Mary’s mounting hostile criticism and retreats to her bedroom. Incensed, Mary loudly denigrates her daughter, berating her for “stealing Carl,” and for being “stupid.” When a weary Precious finally half-heartedly throws her shoe down the stairs at her mother, Mary rushes upstairs to attack her. The next morning as Mary smokes, dances and watches television, Precious looks through a photo album, imagining the photos of her mother and Mr. Wicher speaking to her with praise, love and adoration. At the “Each One-Teach One” school, Precious is met by the dubious receptionist, Cornrows, who then acknowledges that Ms. Lichenstein has rushed through her transfer papers. Uneasy about having to take placement tests, Precious walks back home trying to be optimistic about the new program, when she is insulted and knocked down by some teenage boys. Stunned, Precious momentarily envisions herself filming a dance video in front of an enthusiastic audience as her handsome boyfriend waits in the wings. The next morning, aware of Mary’s volatile mood, Precious prepares tensely for school and, glancing in the mirror, sees herself as a slender, white, blond girl. Despite Precious’ attempt to slip out of the apartment unnoticed, Mary summons her back to the bedroom where she sexually abuses her. Later, Precious steals a bucket of fried chicken and gorges on it before returning to her new school where she is promptly sick. Afterward, Precious is met by attractive young teacher, Ms. Blu Rain, who teaches a preparatory course for taking the GED exam. The class consists of half a dozen other young women, Rita, Rhonda, Jermaine, the sassy Joann and proud Puerto Rican, Consuelo. Ms. Rain asks the students to each begin a journal, writing who they are, where they are from and something at which they excel. Although initially uncomfortable about reading her entry aloud, Precious eventually begins participating in class. Over the next few classes, Precious is gently but firmly encouraged to participate in her studies by Ms. Rain and drops her defensive manner. One afternoon, Mary angrily demands to know why Precious has not been in school, which she has learned through the welfare office. When Precious explains her transfer to the new school, Mary insists she cannot have her welfare payments reduced because there is no official verification of Precious’ schooling, then proceeds to denigrate Precious’ abilities. Masking her hurt and frustration, Precious imagines herself in the foreign movie showing on television, with a firm, but more loving Mary in the role as the exotic mother. A few days later, Precious meets with welfare representative, Ms. Weiss, and bluntly demands to know how she can help with the harsh realities of Precious’ home life. Ms. Weiss is taken aback when she asks about Precious’ first child, who the girl calls “Mongo,” as the toddler suffers from Downs Syndrome. On another day soon after, Mary’s mother, who takes care of Mongo in her own home, brings the child to Mary’s apartment to help prepare for the regular visit from a social worker. During the meeting, Mary, made-up and in a wig, assures the woman that she regularly searches for employment and takes Mongo to doctor visits, although she cannot produce the documents for either claim. On the next visit with Ms. Weiss, Precious inadvertently admits that Carl fathered both her children, but refuses to elaborate, only describing giving birth to Mongo on the kitchen floor while Mary kicked her in the head. Stunned, Ms. Weiss insists that Precious begin regular visits or the agency will be forced to reduce or stop Mary’s welfare checks. School continues to provide Precious with much needed relief and she grows in confidence, writing regularly in her journal and cheerfully attending Ms. Rain’s field trips, one of which is to a museum. In class one afternoon before Christmas, just as Precious begins reciting a story she wrote, she goes into labor and is rushed to the hospital. After Precious gives birth to a healthy boy, whom she names Abdul Jamal Jones, her classmates visit and tease her about African American nurse, John McFadden, who spends time with Precious, encouraging her to eat healthier and continue with her studies. Ms. Rain also visits and keeps up a steady stream of encouragement via the journal, which she and Precious exchange back and forth. Unpressured and relaxed in the hospital, Precious concludes that she must raise both of her children on her own. When challenged by Ms. Rain, who fears Precious will, like Mary, resort to dependence on welfare and reject her schooling, Precious stubbornly insists that she will manage. Upon taking Abdul home, Precious is met by a suspicious, angry Mary who, after saying the baby looks like Carl, orders Precious to fix her dinner. As Mary resumes her demeaning abuse of Precious, her daughter turns on her and demands to know why she stood by and allowed Carl’s assaults. Furious, Mary strikes Precious, but, for the first time, Precious fights back, resulting in a tumultuous brawl. After throwing Mary into the wall, Precious takes Abdul and her backpack and flees. As Precious and the baby rest on the bottom stairwell, Mary drags the television to the railing and pushes it over, but Precious is able to leap aside in time to prevent being injured. Precious then wanders the streets with Abdul, imagining herself safe in a warm church where she joins a gospel choir performing joyfully. With nowhere else to go, Precious breaks into the school where she and Abdul are discovered by Ms. Rain and Cornrows. Distressed, Ms. Rain immediately sets about arranging a place for Precious, but due to the lateness of the day and the Christmas break, offers to temporarily take her and the baby to her apartment instead. There, Ms. Rain introduces Precious to her partner Katherine and Precious is stunned to realize that Ms. Rain is a “straight up lesbian.” After dinner, Ms. Rain and Katherine give Precious a Christmas present, then play Scrabble and Precious is amazed to experience a caring and respectful home life. In the next few weeks, Precious and Abdul move into a half-way house, where Precious devotes herself to the baby while continuing to attend school. When Precious wins the Mayor’s Literacy Award, the school throws her a party which Nurse John attends and who Precious introduces to Cornrows. Later, while helping Ms. Rain clean up, Precious privately admires her teacher’s strength and dedication. Knowing that she cannot remain at the half-way house permanently, Precious nevertheless wonders if she will ever be able to afford her own apartment. Months later, Mary visits Precious to tearfully inform her that Carl has died from AIDS. Stunned, Precious ignores Mary’s query when she will return home and imagines herself the center of a high-fashion photo shoot. After advising Mary to see a doctor, Precious visits a clinic where tests confirm that she is HIV positive. Unable to focus at school, Precious angrily confides in Ms. Rain, declaring that her condition is the result of the only “love” she has experienced. Ms. Rain assures Precious that her experiences are not based on love, and asserts that Precious is truly loved by Abdul and by her. Soon after, at her regular meeting with Ms. Weiss, Precious learns that Mary has asked to meet with her and the children, in hopes of bringing about reconciliation. Hesitantly, Precious agrees, but also decides that, despite the challenges, she will continue with school and try for a better life. A few days later, Precious and Abdul meet Mary at Ms. Weiss’s office. Urged by Ms. Weiss to explain Precious’ home life, Mary haltingly describes having Precious, whom she initially loved whole heartedly, even when it became a challenge to juggle care for her, and keeping Carl sexually and emotionally satisfied. Although Mary admits that Carl began sexually abusing Precious when she was still a baby, she acknowledges that fear of losing him led her to allow the behavior to continue. Over time, as Carl lost interest in her, Mary describes growing to hate Precious for taking him from her and prompting his eventual abandonment. When Ms. Weiss tentatively asks about Mary’s own abuse of Precious, Mary tearfully asks where else was she to get physical affection and love. Mary then goes out into the hall where her mother has Mongo, and bringing the child to Precious, asks if they can be reunited. When Ms. Weiss asks Mary about allowing the original abuse of Precious as a baby, Precious interrupts, saying the situation is beyond the welfare agent’s abilities. Taking Mongo and Abdul, Precious stands and, turning to Mary, states that she never knew her mother until that moment and declares that she will never see her again. Out in the street, Precious, Mongo and Abdul move off, blending in with the crowd in the bright sunshine. 

Production Company: Lee Daniels Entertainment  
  Smokewood Entertainment Group  
Distribution Company: Lionsgate  
Director: Lee Daniels (Dir)
  Chip Signore (1st asst dir)
  Tom Fatone (Addl 1st asst dir)
  Tracey Hinds (2d asst dir)
  Kim Thompson (Addl 2d asst dir)
  Mirashyam Blakeslee (Addl 2d asst dir)
  Michael "Boogie" Pinckney (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Lee Daniels (Prod)
  Sarah Siegel-Magness (Prod)
  Gary Magness (Prod)
  Oprah Winfrey (Exec prod)
  Tyler Perry (Exec prod)
  Lisa Cortés (Exec prod)
  Tom Heller (Exec prod)
  Simone Sheffield (Co-exec prod)
  Mark G. Mathis (Co-prod)
  Andrew Sforzini (Assoc prod)
  Asger Hussain (Assoc prod)
Writer: Geoffrey Fletcher (Scr)
Photography: Andrew Dunn (Dir of photog)
  Peter Agliata (Cam op)
  Tom Weston ("B" cam op)
  Andrew Casey ("B" cam op)
  Charlie Libin ("B" cam op)
  Stanley Fernandez Jr. (1st asst cam)
  Charlie Beyer (1st asst cam)
  Eddie Rodriguez ("B" cam 1st asst cam)
  Denny Kortze (2d asst cam)
  Eric Robinson ("B" cam 2d asst cam)
  Chris Raymond ("B" cam 2d asst cam)
  Marcos Rodriquez ("B" cam 2d asst cam)
  Guillaume Renberg (Remote head op)
  Derek Manganelli (Loader)
  Gavin Fernandez (Loader)
  Andrew Cavagnet (VTR)
  Ken Shibata (Gaffer)
  Jonathan Lumley (Gaffer)
  Kurt Lennig (Rigging gaffer)
  John Coots (Best boy elec)
  Sam Friedman (Best boy elec)
  Noah Prince (Best boy elec)
  Howie Cournoyer (Shop elec)
  Steven Calitri (Stage elec)
  Dan Kubicek (Company elec)
  Mike Gallart (Company elec)
  George Seldon (Company elec)
  Tom Landi (Company elec)
  John O'Malley (Company elec)
  Jim Ferris (Company elec)
  Frank Stubblefield (Gen op)
  John Billeci (Gen op)
  Tim Smythe (Key grip)
  David Stern (Key grip)
  Neil O'Malley (Best boy grip)
  Joe Doughan (Best boy grip)
  Paul Nichols (Best boy grip)
  John Donohue (Dolly grip)
  Edgar Martin ("A" dolly grip)
  Dan Vranesich ("B" dolly grip)
  James Turner (Company grip)
  Jesse Saviola (Company grip)
  John Donohue Jr. (Company grip)
  Rashad Clinton (Company grip)
  Ann Marie Fox (Still photog)
Art Direction: Roshelle Berliner (Prod des)
  Matteo De Cosmo (Art dir)
  Melissa B. Miller (Art dept coord)
  O. Valerie Pratt (Addl art dept coord)
  Adam Bessah (Graffiti artist)
  Keyri "Key" Soto (Graffiti artist)
  Hush*Sports Crew ("Graffiti" artist-writer)
Film Editor: Joe Klotz (Ed)
  Matt Giordano (Asst ed)
  Hilary Peabody (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Kelley Burney (Set dec)
  Louise DeCurtis (Set dresser)
  Carlton McClarence (Set dresser)
  Brad Klipp (Set dresser)
  Peter DeCurtis (Set dresser)
  Joanna Hartell (Set dresser)
  Paul Weathered (On-set dresser)
  Rich Hebrink (Constr coord)
  Dominick Cocuzzo (Key constr grip)
  Sabrina Wright (Prop master)
  Daniel Ritchel (1st prop asst)
  Guido DeCurtis (Leadman)
  Frank DeCurtis (Leadman)
  Tom DeLillot (Leadman)
  Michele Mayas (Charge scenic)
  Sarah Berney (Charge scenic)
  Cathy Wassylenko (Cam scenic)
  Mary Blanchard (Cam scenic)
  Daniel M. Wong (Key set PA)
  Kevin Pazmino (Key set PA)
  Tom "Dutch" Deckaj (Key set PA)
  Agustin Moran (Set PA)
  Michael Stewart (Set PA)
  Anthony Peart (Set PA)
  Kesho DeSouza (Set PA)
  Daryl Sledge (Set PA)
Costumes: Marina Draghici (Cost des)
  Trayce Field (Asst cost des)
  Anne Kenney (Asst cost des)
  Jill Flowers (Ward supv)
  Icey Parks (Set cost)
  Eric Johnson (Cost PA)
  Trenton Dallas (Cost PA)
  Daniele Rooks (Cost PA)
  Lisa Cortés (Spec ward for Mo'Nique and Ms. Sidibe provided by)
  Anya Taraboulsy (Cost intern)
Music: Mario Grigorov (Mus)
  Lynn Fainchtein (Mus supv)
  Mario Grigorov (Addl musician, Piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Celeste)
  Rubin Kodheli (Addl musician, Cello)
  Entcho Todorov (Addl musician, Violin)
Sound: Ken Ishii (Sd mixer)
  Tom Varga (Sd mixer)
  Larry Loewinger (Sd mixer)
  Anguibe Guindo (Boom op)
  Sam Perry (Boom op)
  Vince Camuto Sr. (Boom op)
  Peter Fonda (Boom op utility)
  Joe Origlieri (Sd utility)
  Sound One, New York (Sd editorial services by)
  Robert Hein (Supv sd ed)
  Riley Steele (Sd re-rec mixer)
  Robert Hein (Sd re-rec mixer)
  Brian Bowles (Sd re-rec mixer)
  Robert Fernandez (Addl sd re-rec mixer)
  Brian Bowles (Dial/ADR ed)
  Glenfield Payne (Sd eff ed)
  Eugene Gearty (Sd eff ed)
  Eric Hirsch (Mus ed)
  Matt Haasch (Foley ed)
  David Wahnon (Asst sd ed)
  Ryan Collison (Foley eng)
  Jay Peck (Foley artist)
  Bobby Johanson (ADR mixer)
  Mike Howells (ADR rec)
  James Nichols (Dolby Sound consultant)
Special Effects: Colleen Bachman (Visual eff prod)
  Dan Schrecker (Visual eff supv)
  Look Effects, Inc. (Visual eff by)
  Henrik Fett (Visual eff supv, LOOK Effects, Inc.)
  Brad Kalinoski (Compositing supv, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Jenny Foster (Visual eff prod, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Adam Avitabile (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Derek Bird (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Christian Cardona (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Christopher Ivins (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Danny Kim (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Anthony Mabin (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Gabriel Sanchez (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Chad Schott (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Andranik Taranyan (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Niko Tavernise (Digital compositor, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Migs Rustia (Digital ed, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Paul Stemmer (Digital ed, LOOK Effects Inc.)
  Robert Scupp (Spec eff supv)
  Peter Kunz (Spec eff supv)
  Postillion Studios (Anim & main title des by)
  Kristyn Hume (Anim & main title des)
Dance: James Ervin (Choreog)
Make Up: Belinda Anderson (Hair dept head)
  Nikki Tucker (Hair dept head)
  Carol "CiCi" Campbell (Asst hair stylist)
  Jackie Noel (Asst hair stylist)
  Charlotte Scott (Asst hair stylist)
  Barbara Roman (Asst hair stylist)
  Toy R. Van Lierop (Make up dept head)
  Tomasina Smith (Key make up artist)
  Tobe West (Key make up artist)
  Nzingha (Asst make up artist)
  Leo Wong (Asst make up artist)
  Damaris Gandy (Make up, family album photos)
Production Misc: Billy Hopkins (Casting)
  Jessica Kelly (Casting)
  Matt Sinsheimer (Casting asst)
  Leah Daniels (LA casting assoc)
  Diane Henry (Philadelphia casting assoc)
  Winsome Sinclair (Extras casting)
  Monique Link (Extras casting)
  James Mottram (Extras casting asst)
  Zakiya Lucas (Extras PA)
  Leah Bostic (Extras PA)
  Tony Hernandez (Unit prod mgr)
  Patrick D. Gibbons (Addl unit prod mgr)
  Valerie Hoffman (Addl line prod)
  Bergen Swanson (Addl line prod)
  Gray Krauss LLP (Prod counsel)
  Jonathan Gray (Prod counsel)
  Mike Burke (Precision driver)
  Reid Rosefelt (Unit pub)
  Paul Owens (Docuboy)
  Asif Saddiky (Docuboy)
  Colin Cumberbatch (Prod office coord)
  Kristina Lee (Asst prod office coord)
  Anika Gibbons (Prod secy)
  Dominique Phelps (Asst, Mr. Daniels)
  John Skidmore (Asst, Mr. Hernandez)
  Alexandra Ruiz (Office PA)
  Mecca Miles (Office PA)
  Quincy Gow (Office PA)
  Kristen Everman (Office PA)
  Omar Hernandez (Office PA)
  Jonathan Rotberg (Office PA)
  Carole Compton, Indieclear (Script clearance research)
  Alicia Van Couvering (Clearance and product placement)
  Stephen Winter (Clearance consultant)
  JFA, Inc (Prod accounting)
  Tara Andrus (Prod accounting)
  Morgan Howard (Prod accounting)
  Jessica Thorne (Prod accounting)
  Indiepay, Inc. (Payroll services provided by)
  Stephanie A. Marquardt (Scr supv)
  Tony Osso (Scr supv)
  Catherine Gore (Scr supv)
  Janet S. Jones (Teacher consultant)
  Robert Castillo (Visual consultant)
  Christine Leaman Rake (Loc mgr)
  Jeff Caron (Loc mgr)
  LeRoy McCarthy (Loc mgr)
  Joseph Stephans (Asst loc mgr)
  Steve Faughnan (Loc asst)
  Rick Bartholomy (Loc asst)
  Al Castellanos (Loc asst)
  Cisco Marcia (Parking coord)
  Jose Tejada (Parking coord)
  Edmund Tomaselli (Set medic)
  Mike Reynolds (Chef)
  Lynda Reynolds (Asst chef)
  Gourmet To U, LLC (Catering/Craft service)
  Israel Medina (Craft service)
  Kevin Flynn (Transportation capt)
  Ed Battista (Transportation capt)
  Jim Kelly (Co-captain/Elec truck)
  Paul Weiner (Grip/Elec truck)
  Reg Crute (Elec truck)
  Brian Walker (Hair/makeup honey wagon)
  Chris Godfrey (Hair/Makeup combo)
  Fran Nugent (Cam)
  Kevin Smith (Props)
  George Grenier (Grip)
  Rori Fortier (Set dressing)
  George Campbell (15 pass)
  Reno Devivo (15 pass)
  John Moresco (15 pass)
  Dominic Riccardi (Set dress truck)
  Raphael Matos (Prop truck)
  Russ Swanson (Grip tractor)
  Frank Appedu III (Hair/makeup/wardrobe)
  Kenyatta Jackson (Cam truck)
  Lou Rodriguez (Honeywagon)
  Carl Russell (3 room trailer)
  Kia Perry (1st team PA)
  Carmen Scott (1st team PA)
  Anne Marie Dentici (Paperwork PA)
  Chris Kocses (Walkie PA)
  Chuck McWhorter (Walkie PA)
  Tim Antwine (Unit PA)
  Derek Beacher (Prod intern)
  Melissa Bostian (Prod intern)
  Desiree Brown (Prod intern)
  Tre Ferrell (Prod intern)
  Paul Kang (Prod intern)
  Da'oud Saunders (Prod intern)
  Lemarze J. Smith (Prod intern)
  Emman England (Post prod intern)
  Melissa Murray (Post prod intern)
  Leslie Sweidler (Post prod intern)
  Lamont Pierre (Post prod intern)
  Nicola McKenzie (Post prod intern)
  Michael Viftrup Jensen (Post prod intern)
  JFA, Inc. (Post prod accounting)
  Steve Boyle (Post prod accounting)
  Elizabeth Hanley (Post prod accounting)
  Cinetic Media (Dist advisory services)
Stand In: Roy Farfel (Stunt coord)
  Gene Harris (Stunt coord)
  Jwaundace Candece (Mary stunt double)
  Naomi Peters (Mrs. Lichenstein stunt double)
  Derrick Simmons (Precious stunt double)
  Nicole Callender (Ruby stunt double)
Color Personnel: Technicolor New York (Digital intermediate by)
  Tim Stipan (DI colorist, Technicolor New York)
  Dana Bloder (DI prod, Technicolor New York)
  Jesse Morrow (VFX, Technicolor New York)
  Jessica Allen (DI ed, Technicolor New York)
  Michael P. Whipple (DI eng, Technicolor New York)
  Eric Leverenz (DI tech asst, Technicolor New York)
  Daniel Silverman (Imaging and film rec, Technicolor New York)
  Kevin Vale (Imaging and film rec, Technicolor New York)
  Joseph Ryals (Imaging and film rec, Technicolor New York)
  Barbara Jean Kearney (Exec prod DI, Technicolor New York)
  Joey Violante (Dailes adv, Technicolor New York)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: “No. 7, Libera Me,” by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Leonard Bernstein, courtesy of Sony Masterworks a unit of Sony Music Entertainment by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing.
Songs: “He is the Joy,” written by Marc Pomeroy and Brian A. Tappert, performed by Donna Allen, courtesy of Soulfuric Recordings, Inc.; “Do It,” written, performed arranged and produced by Lenny Kravitz, courtesy of Virgin Records; “227 End Credits (No Place Like Home from the television series 227,” written by Ray Colcord, performed by Marla Gibbs, courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment; “The Teacher of Love,” written by Raymond Barretto and Louis Cruz, performed by Ray Barretto, courtesy of Emusica Records, LLC under license from Universal Music Enterprises; “Columbia Pictures Television Logo Music from the television series 227,” written by Timothy Thompson, courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment; “Soul Holidays,” written by James Samuel Harris III, James Quenton Wright, Ann Nesby, Jamecia V. Bennett and Terry Lewis, performed by Sounds of Blackness, courtesy of A&M Records under license from Universal Enterprises; “Was That All It Was,” written by Jerry Butler, Linda Conlon and John Ursy, performed by Jean Carn, courtesy of Philadelphia International Records and Sony Music Entertainment by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” traditional, performed by The Platters under license from Cleopatra Records by arrangement with pigFACTORY USA LLC; “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking,” written by Harry Revel and Mack Gordon, performed by Sunny Gale, courtesy of Warwick Records by arrangement with The Orchard under license from ABCKO Records; “Love is the Message,” written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, performed by MFSB (Featuring the Three Degrees), courtesy of Philadelphia International Records and Sony Music Entertainment by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; “Come Into My House,” written by Dana Owens and Mark James, performed by Queen Latifah, courtesy of Tommy Boy Records by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing; “Humpin’ Around,” written by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Daryl Simmons, Kenneth M. Edmonds, Thomas Reyes and Bobby Brown, performed by Bobby Brown, courtesy of Geffen Records under license from Universal Enterprises; “I Can See in Color,” written by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and LaNeah Menzies, performed by Mary J. Blige, produced by Raphael Saadiq courtesy of Geffen Records; “It Took a Long Time,” written by Raymond Bloodworth, L. Russell Brown and Bob Crewe, performed by Labelle, courtesy of Epic Records and The Columbia/Epic Label Group, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,” traditional, performed by Mahalia Jackson, courtesy of Columbia Records and The Columbia/Epic Label Group, a unit of Sony Music Entertainment by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing; “System,” written by Nona Hendryx, performed by Labelle, courtesy of The Verve Music Group under license from Universal Enterprises; “Something’s Comin’ My Way,” written Dan Manjovi, performed by Grace Hightower, courtesy of Dan Manjovi Music LLC; “My Good Lovin’,” performed by Da Brat & Lil’Mo, contains samples of “Back Like That,” performed by Ghostface Killah featuring Ne-Yo D, Coles, V. Brown, Shawn C. Carter, Dennis David Coles, Douglas Gibbs, Shaffer Smith, Ralph Johnson and Willie Hutch, courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group, contains a sample of “Baby, Come Home,” as performed by Willie Hutch, courtesy of Motown Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises, Lil’Mo appears courtesy of HoneyChild Entertainment Inc., Da Brat appears courtesy of Throwin’ Tantrums Entertainment/Rare Breed Inc.
Composer: Ray Barretto
  Jamecia V. Bennett
  Mary J. Blige
  Raymond Bloodworth
  Bobby Brown
  L. Russell Brown
  Jerry Butler
  Ray Colcord
  Linda Conlon
  Bob Crewe
  Louis Cruz
  Kenneth M. Edmonds
  Kenneth Gamble
  Mack Gordon
  James Samuel Harris III
  Nona Hendryx
  Leon Huff
  Mark James
  Lenny Kravitz
  Terry Lewis
  Dan Manjovi
  LaNeah Menzies
  Ann Nesby
  Dana Owens
  Marc Pomeroy
  Antonio "L. A." Reid
  Harry Revel
  Thomas Reyes
  Raphael Saadiq
  Darryl Simmons
  Brian A. Tappert
  Timothy Thompson
  John Ursy
  Giuseppe Verdi
  James Quenton Wright
Source Text: Based on the novel Push: A Novel by Sapphire (New York, 1996).
Authors: Sapphire

Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  col: Technicolor, with b&w seq
  Widescreen/ratio: Panavision

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: African American
 
Subjects (Major): Adolescents
  African Americans
  Mothers and daughters
  New York City--Harlem
  Sexual abuse
  Teachers
  Transformation
 
Subjects (Minor): Childbirth
  Deception
  Fistfights
  Friendship
  High schools
  High school students
  Hospitals
  Incest
  Infants
  Lesbianism
  Mentally handicapped persons
  Mothers and sons
  Nurses
  Obesity
  Pregnancy
  Rape
  Social workers
  Welfare workers

Note: The film was initially screened at the Sundance Film Festival under the title Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire . Four title cards are presented in the opening credits: The first two display phonetically spelled versions of the production company names, as if printed by a child. The actual company names appear directly below, in parentheses. The third card, showing the film's title in the same childish hand, reads, "PRECIOUS (BASE ON NOL BY SAF)" with the words "Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire" in parentheses directly below. Following the same pattern, the fourth title card reads, "EVRYFIN IS A GIF OF TH UNVRSS," under which the words "Everything is a gift of the universe." appear in parentheses. Beneath the quotation, the attribution is given as "--KEN KEYES JR." Under the title credit, the film begins, by showing a bright red-orange scarf hanging from a lamp post briefly before fluttering down. In the next scene, a smiling, African American woman dressed in a gown of the same bright shade of red-orange walks toward an elegantly dressed and made-up “Precious,” and drapes the colorful scarf on her shoulder, before backing away, still smiling. The woman is described in the credits as “Fairy godmother.” Near the film’s conclusion, when Precious witnesses a mother harshly scolding her young daughter in the welfare office waiting room, she gives the girl the red-orange scarf.
       Voiceover, spoken by Gabourey Sadibe as Precious, is heard throughout the film. Precious’ fantasies are depicted and she is frequently accompanied in these sequences by a handsome, light-skinned African American young man whose character name is listed in the credits as “Tom Cruise.” In the film, “Mary” and Precious watch the 1960 Italian movie, La ciociara ( Two Women , directed by Vittorio De Sica and starring Sophia Loren), about the plight of a mother and daughter during World War II in Italy. In Precious’ subsequent brief fantasy, she and Mary replace the stars in the black and white film, speaking Italian that is translated onscreen with English subtitles. The closing credits begin with the following onscreen written dedication: “For precious girls everywhere.” The closing credits acknowledge the use of several television programs, brief clips of which are seen or heard in the film. The music credit for Verdi’s “No. 7 Libera me,” is misspelled as “Librera me.” In the onscreen closing credits the producers thank numerous individuals and also include the following acknowledgement: “Thank you ProLiteracy Worldwide, whose network of programs in all 50 states help people over 16 learn to read, write, do math, and speak English as a second language.”
       Precious marked the feature film debut of Sadibe. According to a 28 Oct 2009 HR article on the film, Helen Mirren, who had starred in director Lee Daniels’ 2005 release, Shadowboxer was to play the part of social worker, “Ms. Weiss,” but was forced to withdraw due to scheduling conflicts. Mariah Carey was later cast in the role. Mo’nique, who stars as “Mary” also appeared in Shadowboxer as a character named “Precious.”
       The novel on which the film was based, Push: a novel by Sapphire is, to date, the only novel written by poet and performance artist, Ramona Lofton (1950-- ), who took the name Sapphire for her writing and performing. The film Precious , under the title Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire , won the 2009 Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize, the audience award and a Special Jury Prize for Acting.
       According to a 3 Feb 2009 HR news item, the festival success helped the film acquire a distributor, Lionsgate, and the support of entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey and producer-writer-director Tyler Perry, who are credited in the film’s general release as executive producers and presenters. Although the HR item and a 3 Feb 2009 DV item mentioned that Wynfrey and Perry’s support would come through their respective companies, Harpo Films and 34th Street Films, those company names do not appear in the credits. According to a 23 Feb 2009 Var article, after confusion over another film titled Push , a science-fiction thriller starring Dakota Fanning, that was released in early Feb, Lionsgate changed the title to Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire . A 5 Feb 2009 HR article revealed that Lionsgate filed suit against the Weinstein Co. for “threatened litigation” over distribution rights to Precious . The article noted that hours after the Lionsgate suit, the Weinstein Co. filed against Lionsgate and sales agent Cinetic Media for breach of contract, “saying there was a contract in place for The Weinstein Co. to buy the movie.” A 9 Feb 2009 Var article quoted Cinetic Media representatives as calling the Weinstein Co. litigation “meritless.” A 24 Apr 2009 HR article stated that the inclusion of Precious in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival had prompted the Weinstein Co. to consider seeking an in injunction to block the screening. A decision on the suit between Lionsgate and The Weinstein Co. was not made until shortly before the film’s major release in early Nov 2009. A 29 Sep 2009 DV news item reported that a federal judge dismissed one of four suits brought by the Weinstein Co., declaring that the company did not have a contract for Precious . An LAT article on the same date added that the decision would likely affect the other three pending suits. The outcome of those suits has not been determined.
       A 5 Feb 2009 NYT article noted that Precious faced serious marketing challenges because of its difficult subject matter. A 5 Nov 2009 LAT article on the eve of the film’s release revealed that advertisements for the film purposely hid “some of the narrative’s more disturbing elements while also trying to accentuate…its fleeting moments of uplift and fantasy.” After the film opened nationwide in late Nov 2009, a 21 Nov 2009 NYT article discussed the critical and viewer response to the film’s depiction of African Americans. The article stated that the chief film critic of the NewYork Press and chairman of the NY Film Critics Circle wrote that “Not since The Birth of a Nation (1915, see above) has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious . … Full of brazenly racist clichés… it is a sociological horror show.” The novel’s author, Sapphire, remarked that with the Obama family in the White House at the time of the film’s release, Precious represented only one segment of the modern day American black experience.
       Precious was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2009. The film won Academy Awards for Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Mo'Nique) and Adapted Screenplay, and nominations for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Sadibe), Film Editing, Directing and Best Picture. Precious received Independent Spirit awards for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead (Sadibe), Best First Screenplay and Best Supporting Female (Mo'Nique). In addition, Mo'Nique received a Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Supporting Actress and a SAG Award for Outstanding Female Actor in A Supporting Role. The SGA nominated Sidibe for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. Daniels received a DGA nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   20 Jan 2009.   
Daily Variety   26 Jan 2009   p. 1, 20.
Daily Variety   3 Feb 2009   p 1, 15.
Daily Variety   14 Apr 2009.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Nov 2007.   
Hollywood Reporter   30 Nov 2007.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Feb 2009.   
Hollywood Reporter   5 Feb 2009.   
Hollywood Reporter   11 Feb 2009   p. 1, 18.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Feb 2009   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Apr 2009.   
Hollywood Reporter   21 Sep 2009   p. 3, 22.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Oct 2009   pp. 8-9.
Los Angeles Times   6 Feb 2009.   
Los Angeles Times   10 Sep 2009   Calendar, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times   29 Sep 2009.   
Los Angeles Times   5 Nov 2009   Calendar, p. 1, 5.
New York Times   5 Feb 2009   Arts, p. 1, 4.
New York Times   21 Nov 2009.   
Variety   26 Jan 2009   p. 41.
Variety   9 Feb 2009   p. 4, 34.
Variety   23 Feb 2009   p. 3, 30.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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