Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    A movie about an obese Harlem teenager who's raped by her father and abused by her mother. It's depressing, devastating, harrowing and repulsive. But there are lyric flights of hope interspersed among that raw naturalism, and that's what makes this movie amazing.
  2. 100
    Qualifies as the most painful, poetic and improbably beautiful film of the year.
  3. 100
    This movie catalogs a wealth of human ugliness. It’s even been made to look ugly, presumably to underscore the horror movie that is Precious’s life.
  4. 100
    It's cathartic and exhilarating.
  5. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    While it may not be perfect on a technical level, dramatically it’s a blow-your-socks-off triumph. Be moved. Very, very moved.
  6. It's a potent and moving experience, because by the end you feel you've witnessed nothing less than the birth of a soul.
  7. Genuinely and irresistibly inspirational.
  8. 100
    This drama about an obese, illiterate black teen in Harlem practically guarantees some emotional uplift. But when it arrives, eventually, its authority is unimpeachable, so deeply has director Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball) immersed us in the depths of human ugliness.
  9. 91
    Precious can’t be endorsed as entertainment: the circumstances and incidents and emotions in the film are far too dark and painful. But there is exhilaration in its daring, in its craft and in the powerhouse work of its principal actresses.
  10. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Its story ends up packing an emotional wallop as substantial as its title character.
  11. Nothing quite prepares you for the rough-cut diamond that is Precious. A rare blend of pure entertainment and dark social commentary, this shockingly raw, surprisingly irreverent and absolutely unforgettable story.
  12. 90
    Nimble and self-assured as Mr. Daniels’s direction may be, he could not make you believe in “Precious” unless you were able to believe in Precious herself. You will.
  13. 88
    Claireece "Precious" Jones, played by Gabourey Sidibe, 24, in an astounding debut that brims with grit and amazing grace.
  14. This is an exceptional film about nearly unendurable circumstances, endured. You will come out the other side of it a markedly enriched filmgoer.
  15. 88
    To its credit, this remarkable film does not contrive a happy ending. Under the circumstances, even a mildly hopeful one seems like a triumph of the highest order.
  16. 88
    Manages the task of being both heartbreaking and heart-warming.
  17. Although Precious is based on a novel, it's an act of truth-telling on behalf of a character in hellish enslavement.
  18. It melodramatizes everything and yet its overall effect is something more than melodrama.
  19. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    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.
  20. The film's real strength is its cast, from an Oscar-bound Mo'Nique to a notably deglammed Mariah Carey.
  21. Reviewed by: Nick Antosca
    Shot in the manner of a grueling horror picture, with jittery edits to half-remembered traumas and glistening close-ups on the faces of monsters.
  22. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    An urban nightmare with a surfeit of soul, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire is like a diamond -- clear, bright, but oh so hard.
  23. 75
    This bruising, harrowing movie would be impossible to sit through without at least a hint of light at the end of its astonishingly dark tunnel.
  24. You go to a Daniels movie not to be entertained, but edified. While not everyone goes to the movies for self-improvement, you will leave this one having witnessed phenomenal acting.
  25. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Despite its melodramatic moments, remarkable performances drive home the film's inspiring message.
  26. Precious is a bit like having a piano dropped on your head: messy but memorable.
  27. Precious is painful, it is harrowing, it is emotionally exhausting. It is also a singular film, one that is as difficult to compare to another as it is to forget.
  28. 75
    Not even Douglas Sirk or Lars von Trier would heap so much abuse on a heroine. And yet, on its own melodramatic, tear-jerking terms, Precious works.
  29. 70
    The performances are so plainspoken and direct that they manage to push the material beyond the confines of a mere social-problem tract -- as played by the cast, these characters aren't symbols of inner-city hardship, but people.
  30. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Yet even when the movie is at its most schizoid, Precious still packs a wallop.
  31. It is certainly the best button-pushing movie of the year.
  32. Given the months-long hype, what’s most bewildering about Sundance sensation Precious is its overall shrug-worthiness.
  33. The elements of Precious are powerful and shocking, but the movie is programmed. It is its own study guide.
  34. 40
    What we have here is a fouled-up fairy tale of oppression and empowerment, and it’s hard not to be ensnared by its mixture of rank maleficence and easy reverie. The gap between being genuinely stirred and having your arm twisted, however, is narrower than we care to admit.
  35. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    In its eagerness to drag us through the lower depths of human experience, Precious leaves no space for the audience to breathe or to draw our own conclusions. For a film about empowerment and self-actualization, it wields an awfully large cudgel.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 174 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 56 out of 62
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 62
  3. Negative: 6 out of 62
  1. Oct 15, 2011
    The Oscar-winning movie "Precious" is slow paced with a quiet tone of despair. There is really no solution to its pessimistic view throughout the movie, but its Mo'Nique (the Oscar Best Actress Winner) who provides faith and light to the audience throughout the movie. Full Review »
  2. Sep 27, 2010
    Very great film.. inspiring and so natural.. as per the title itself, based on a true story... was able to show that it is and it is not a just a film.. Carey acted well.. Natural and great.. Monique is very good.. Full Review »
  3. Aug 13, 2010
    Precious is definitely a good film. Excellent performances by literally everyone in the cast, especially Mo'Nique. It has a heart-wrenching story and, well, it definitely makes one think. It all works, but somehow it just isn't fully what I've expected, there is a little thing that would make this film excellent... this way it's "just" a great film. I'd recommend it, for sure. Full Review »