Job (from the book by the same name) has nothing on Clarice "Precious" Jones. Life is hard for her. Unbearably, unfathomably hard.
Now, the Chronic Critic is not going to pretend she's any more familiar with life in the ghetto than she is with life on Martha's Vineyard, but she'd like to believe that there is some bright spot in every life, no matter how bleak.
Not so with this obese, nearly illiterate 16-year-old who has gotten pregnant twice. By her father.
OK, one bright spot comes in the form of Blu Rain -- the improbably named, impeccably dressed teacher at the alternative school Precious attends after being kicked out of her regular school. Ms. Rain is endlessly patient with her students, but you'd think a woman this smart would notice when, one day, Precious cannot read the phrase, "A Day at The Shore," and a few days later has written a lovely composition in the form of a fairytale that she is somehow able to read to the class. Excuse me? Was there an editor employed here?
Mariah Carey gamely uglies herself up as a compassionate social worker. But, she appears in one scene ... and then is forgotten until almost the end of the movie. When she appears again, we're left wondering, "What the ...? Has Precious been to see her again? If so, when? And, for how long?" The pretty teacher gets all the scenes, and the plain Jane Mariah -- who turns out to be an impressive actress -- gets three.
Lenny Kravitz shows up (and looks hot!) as a compassionate nurse who doesn't seem to do much nursing, but does eat a fruit cup in Precious's hospital room. Oh, and he pops in at her school for a holiday party. I've been going to Dr. Frasier for 18 years and have a fabulous relationship with his nurse, Tracy, but she has never come to any of my social functions.
As for Lenny, if only he could act as fine as he looks.
I will give Mo'Nique props for her phenomenal, Oscar-caliber performance as Precious's foul-mouthed, abusive mother. Your critic prefers her characters three-dimensional, and this woman is a one-note monster. How monstrous? Wait'll you get a load of what she calls her granddaughter. I don't want to spoil the horrific surprise.
This movie has a good heart and has a couple of stellar performances. But, but given the very heavy hand used here (Did I mention the Spay/Neuter clinic Precious walks by after giving birth?), the inconsistencies and the one-dimensional characters ... it pains me to say it ... I must advise you: Skip it.