Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire

First Hit: A powerful film about a young woman finding both hope and her path after growing up in abuse.

Gabourey Sidibe embodies Precious a teenage girl finding a way out of a life of physical and emotional abuse.

Precious’ mother is powerfully played by Mo’Nique who allowed her daughter to be sexually abused by her boyfriend and Precious' father. These are just two of many engaging performances in this film.

The relationship between these two as mother and daughter is extraordinary in its exposing how twisted and embattled a parental child relationship can get. To escape, Precious fantasizes about being a famous star, about being married to her teacher, and about having a different life which are interludes in the film.

The director Lee Daniels chose to represent these fantasies as realistic scene segues which didn’t quite work for me. I thought they took away from the film. As Precious finds her own strength and voice by going to an alternative school class taught by Ms. Rain (played by Paula Patton), she begins to learn how to read and write her story as a way of seeing, processing and dealing with her life of abuse.

The scenes of her classmates surrounding her and supporting her after she delivers her second baby (her father is the daddy of both children) was a true measure of how these teens still have the ability to lift themselves out of horrible situations when they are given respect, attention and seen as people with honor.

Lastly, I’d like to say that Mariah Carey as the social worker was a great casting selection. Her performance was spot on. Towards the end of the film when she, Precious and Mary sit together one last time, the dialog and performances were breathtaking.

Daniels did an incredible job directing this film although I wasn’t a fan of the fantasies. Sidibe was hauntingly wonderful as Precious. Mo’Nique was beyond amazing as Mary and her monologue when she explains why she allowed the abuse to go on in the interview with Carey was without hesitation the most powerful scene on film this year. Patton was strong and a ray of light in this very dark film.

Overall: Astonishing piece of work with no punches pulled.