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Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Bring the Kleenex Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    It's a potent and moving experience, because by the end you feel you've witnessed nothing less than the birth of a soul.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Genuinely and irresistibly inspirational.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Despite its melodramatic moments, remarkable performances drive home the film's inspiring message.

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  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    As Precious, Sidibe is superb, allowing us to see the inner warmth and beauty of a young woman who, to her world's cruel eyes, might seem monstrous.

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  • See all Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Powerful, painful account of Harlem teen's hard-luck life.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this powerful indie drama based on the novel Push by Sapphire is a harsh, raw depiction of a Harlem teen’s brutal life that may be too intense for many viewers, even older teens. The main character is abused in every way imaginable (emotionally, physically, sexually) by those who ought to have her best interests at heart (including her parents) -- and yet she persists, rising above her circumstances. The language is coarse throughout the movie, there are many scenes of household violence (slapping, kicking, pushing, etc.), and sexual abuse abounds (a man is shown unbuckling his belt before he rapes his daughter). Still, it’s ultimately a compelling, thought-provoking film that will stick with those mature enough to handle it.

  • Families can talk about the movie's themes. What do you think the filmmakers hope viewers take away from watching? Does a good movie have to be easy and/or fun to watch? What do we learn from going outside our comfort zone?
  • Is Precious' seeming indifference to how she’s treated and how she copes upsetting or understandable? Or even admirable?
  •  What fuels Precious' desire to be a better mother and to have a better life?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Despite its many painful, cruel scenes and characters, the ultimate takeaway from this powerful drama is that no matter how persistently someone attempts to break you down, you are special.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: A mixture of gruesome and awesome. Precious’ parents are vicious and uncaring (both are abusive, and her mother also handles a baby a little roughly, insults a special needs child, and calls her teen names), yet she finds a way to rise above it. Her teacher provides much-needed mentoring, and her new classmates offer friendship. Some cruelty among teens.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Overwhelmingly cruel at times, with a father molesting his daughter and a mother shown beating the same child -- including throwing objects (a television, for instance) at her and kicking her. One fight in particular is shockingly graphic. A man is shown unbuckling his belt and forcing himself sexually on a child.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Except for some dream sequences in which teens flirt with each other, all depictions of sex are either overtly or more subtly associated with violence (including assault). A woman is seen under the covers moaning, presumably pleasuring herself.

  • language false4

    Language: Very raw, with frequent uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t," "bitch," "goddamn," "ass," "hell," and "oh my God."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some mentions of products in the context of dream sequences.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some references to drug abuse, though nothing is shown.