Push Based on the Novel by Sapphire

  • Directors: Lee Daniels
  • Producers: Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Sarah Siegel Magness, Gary Magness
  • Writers: Novel, Sapphire, Screenplay, Geoffrey Fletcher
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz

In 1987, obese, illiterate, black 16-year-old Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem with her dysfunctional family; she has been raped and impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers constant physical, mental and sexual abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary (Mo’Nique). The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and subsists on welfare. Her first child, known only as “Mongo” (short for “Mongoloid”), has Down Syndrome and is being cared for by Precious’s grandmother. After Precious becomes pregnant for the second time, she is suspended from school. Her junior high school principal, Mrs. Lichtenstein (Nealla Gordon) arranges to have her attend an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life’s direction.[6]

Precious fights to find a way out of her traumatic daily existence through imagination and fantasy. While she is being raped by her father, she looks at the ceiling and imagines herself in a music video shoot; in the video, she is the superstar and the focus of attention. While looking in photo albums, she imagines the pictures talking to her. When she looks in the mirror, she sees a pretty, white, thin, blonde girl. In her mind there is another world, one in which, unlike her real one, she is loved and appreciated.

Inspired by her new teacher Miss Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins learning to read. She gives birth to her second child and names him Abdul. After Precious’s mother deliberately drops three-day-old Abdul and hits Precious, Precious fights back long enough to get her son and flees her home permanently. She finds new confidence with the help of her teacher, Miss Rain, and begins raising her son in a half-way house while she continues to improve academically. Her mother comes back into her life to inform Precious that her father has died of AIDS. Later, Precious finds out that she is HIV positive, but Abdul is not. The film ends with Precious still resolved to improve for herself and for her children. She severs ties with her family and makes plans to complete a General Educational Development test.

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