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AT THE MOVIES : CRITICS' PICKS

'Precious'

November 19, 2009|Betsy Sharkey

This powerful story of an illiterate, abused, pregnant, obese Harlem teen in the '80s has captured the imagination of moviegoers with standout performances by Mo'Nique as Precious' nightmare of a mother, a dowdy Mariah Carey as her social worker and remarkable newcomer Gabourey Sidibe as Precious. It doesn't take much more than an alternative school and an attentive teacher in Paula Patton's Ms. Rain to start turning things around for a teenager most of the world had written off. For those who worry that the story is too dark, director Lee Daniels has built in a safety valve for both Precious and for us -- fantasy sequences that are as funny as they are telling. Ultimately, though, it is the hope that Precious finds in the most unexpected places that makes you come out of the theater smiling.

-- Betsy Sharkey

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