Precious (2009) Movie Script

My name is Claireece "Precious" Jones.
I wish I had a light-skinned boyfriend
with real nice hair.
And I wanna be on the cover of a magazine.
But first, I wanna be
in one of them BET videos.
Momma said I can't dance.
Plus, she said, who wants
to see my big ass dancing, anyhow?
Well, if there's no volunteers,
then I'm going to have to call people.
Okay, Leticia, you got number one. Leticia!
Jess Wesley, number two.
I like math. I don't say nothing.
I don't open my book, even.
I just sit there.
- You down?
- Number six.
Every day I tell myself
something's gonna happen.
I'm... I'm dead serious.
Like, I'm gonna break through.
Or somebody's gonna break through to me.
I'm gonna be normal
and pay attention,
and sit in the front of the class.
Distributive principles...
...are principles that
you can do in your head.
I like Mr. Wicher.
I pretend he my husband
and we live some place like Westchester.
Look at him. He like me, too, I know it.
I can tell by his eyes.
He always looking at me and smiling at me.
Boys! Boys! Boys!
I'm not your fucking boy!
You're disrupting the class.
Yeah, well, I'm talking now,
so you listen.
Shut the fuck up! I'm trying to listen!
Mr. Wicher know I got his back.
One twenty-two.
Why are we barking, Jess?
Monday's assignment.
I'm assuming everybody did it.
- No.
- No.
Please... Quiet. Precious, get your things.
I have... Come here for a second.
Now this shit.
Is there anybody
who didn't do their homework?
Why? These aren't requests.
These are requirements. Okay?
You have to go to the principal's office.
Go to the principal's office!
All right, that's enough. That's enough.
No, he's not allowed on campus.
Where was he seen?
Could you get Mr. Tork from Room 25,
tell him to go to Room 16 right away?
Thank you.
No. He was seen on the second floor.
Yes. Thank you.
Send Claireece in here!
She's ready for you now.
Mr. Taylor? Ms. Lichenstein.
Come in.
Matthew Williams, second floor.
In front of his locker.
Yes. Suspended last week.
Yes, absolutely. Thank you.
Hello, Claireece.
Are you pregnant?
You're 16. You're still
in junior high school,
and you're pregnant with your second child.
Is that correct, Claireece?
Are you pregnant again?
What happened, Claireece?
I had sex, Ms. Lichenstein.
Do you have any other thoughts
about your situation, Claireece?
Am I in trouble?
Thank you. I gotta get back to math.
Sit down, Claireece. Sit down right now.
We should have a parent-teacher's
conference with you, me and your mother.
My mother's busy.
All right. Well then,
how about if I come to your house?
If I were you, I wouldn't.
I... I'm going to have to suspend you.
That ain't fair! I didn't do nothing!
I do my work!
My grades is good!
Is something going on at home?
If something's going on at home,
I want you to tell me right now.
You get my cigarettes?
No, they didn't have it.
I played the number, though.
I couldn't box it.
Yes. Yeah.
Right there. Yeah. Daddy loves you.
Precious, what did you think of the film?
I thought it was fabulous.
- What's next for you?
- What?
- How are you feeling?
- I feel great!
Just one more, just one more, quick!
I love you, too!
You know I love you!
Hey, boo!
I ain't gonna say it no more.
The door was open, so I let myself in.
Well, there goes my chance
to tell you I'm not home.
Now, Mary, this is important.
Now, come on, Mary,
she'll have a great time.
I'd enroll myself, but I became ineligible
for teen pageants a few days ago.
Yeah, I see your acne's cleared up.
You know, this pageant can do Brenda
a world of good, Mary.
And the man in charge, he's tops
in his field. A brilliant promoter.
How long have you two been dating?
A dance teacher.
Tell them assholes to stop ringing my bell.
I hate crackheads.
No one ever ring this bell
except for crackheads.
Why they fucking with us?
Stop ringing the goddamn buzzers,
Give the ghetto a bad name.
Stop ringing the goddamn buzzer!
Stop it!
Press "listen," stupid.
It's Sandra Lichenstein
for Claireece and Ms. Mary Johnston.
Who is that, Precious?
White bitch from school.
What do you want?
Claireece, I want to talk to you
about your education.
Eighty-six that bitch.
My mother don't wanna get cut off welfare.
And that's just what this visit
gonna result in.
Ms. Lichenstein, get out of here
before I kick your ass.
All right, Claireece, I spoke to Mr.
and he told me
that you're one of his best math students.
If your fat ass don't get
that bitch away from here... a, like a potential for math.
So I called Mrs. McKnight
from Higher Education Alternative
Each One Teach One.
It's an alternative school.
Claireece, are you listening to me?
Okay. Mrs. McKnight. Each One Teach One.
It's located at the 11th floor,
Hotel Theresa, 125th Street.
- Get rid of that bitch.
- The semester started a few days ago,
so you're not too late.
Eleventh floor.
I heard you the first time.
I don't know what an alternative school is,
but I feel I wanna know.
My heart is all warm inside.
Mr. Wicher think I'm a good student.
I knew that he liked me.
School ain't gonna help none!
Take your ass down to the welfare.
Who the fuck she think she is?
So I guess you think you cute now, right?
Uppity bitch.
You should have kept
your fucking mouth shut.
Just 'cause he gonna give you
more children than he give me,
you think you something fucking special?
Fuck you and fuck him!
Precious! Precious!
Get down here, bitch!
You brought that white bitch up
in my house!
Why would you bring that bitch up in here?
I didn't bring her here.
Well, why the fuck did she ring my buzzer?
I can't hear you, Precious.
Since you got
so much motherfucking mouth,
and you gonna bring a bitch up
in my house,
why would that bitch ring
my goddamn buzzer?
I didn't tell her to come here.
See, I think right now, you feeling
like you're becoming a grown woman.
'Cause of that shit you pulled
in the kitchen.
I should've fucked you up,
but I let you walk away,
and I let you come get yourself together.
But, bitch, I'm gonna let you know
if you ever pull that shit on me again,
that will be your last
motherfucking day standing,
I promise you that.
You gonna send a white bitch
to my motherfucking buzzer?
Talking about some higher education?
You're a dummy, bitch,
you will never know shit.
Don't nobody want you.
Don't nobody need you.
You done fucked around
and fucked my motherfucking man
and had two motherfucking children,
and one of them is a goddamn animal,
running around,
looking crazy as a motherfucker.
Bitch, you know what?
See, I think you... I think you're trying me.
I think you're really trying to fuck with me.
You're fucking with my money.
And you're gonna stand up there
and look down at me
like you're a motherfucking woman.
I'm gonna show you
what real women do, bitch.
See, you don't know
what real motherfucking women do.
Real motherfucking women sacrifice.
I should've aborted your motherfucking ass.
'Cause you ain't shit.
I knew it the day the doctors put you
in my goddamn hand
you wasn't a goddamn thing,
and you have that smirk
on your face, bitch?
Get it off your fucking face!
Now smile about that!
Smile about that, you fat bitch.
I'm gonna kill you, bitch!
Get off me, bitch!
And "blank" and eggs?
- Bacon?
- Right.
- And "What's up, Doc?" He eats these.
- Carrots.
- Right. And ice, it comes in a tray.
- Ice cubes.
Right. And the best part
of the steak. The...
- The T-bone. The...
- No.
- Filet mignon.
- Right!
- And an English... Thomas' English...
- Muffin!
- Right.
- That's it!
You really need to get some rest.
You have such a big day
ahead of you tomorrow.
And remember, Mommy loves you.
Describe these things that are planned.
Things that are planned. Ready? Go!
Precious, you know I love you.
I'm gonna kick that white lady
out of my house,
move you in with me.
Wanna live in Westchester?
- Commit a...
- Crime.
And this is you get back together again.
- A class...
- Reunion.
And this is when you're like this,
- you're expecting...
- Pregnant.
- Yeah. And this is you make a fast...
- Escape.
- Right.
- That's it!
Where you going?
Make sure you play my 852
and tell them to box it.
And get some kitty litter.
Ethel, where you at?
Precious, what are we gonna play?
Girl, get the fuck out of here.
Ain't you supposed to be
at school or something?
You said we was gonna play.
That's exactly why
we ain't gonna be playing.
I never said nothing like that.
You would say some shit like that to me,
and you don't even mean it?
No, I'm not playing with you.
No, and she call... Hold on.
Each One Teach One, hold, please.
Yes. She called my house.
I know it wasn't your sister, Trey.
Because it wasn't her.
What this is here?
Each One Teach One.
I'm looking for an alternative school.
This is an alternative.
What alternative is?
What exactly are you asking me?
Lady at my other school
told me to come here.
Hotel Theresa.
Said it's an alternative school.
An alternative school, it's like a choice.
It's a different way of doing things.
So, I need your discharge papers
saying that they discharged you.
I got kicked out of school
'cause I was pregnant.
Well, I still need your discharge papers,
otherwise we can't let you in.
Ms. Lichenstein didn't say all that.
You the one she called about.
Claireece P. Jones?
They already sent over
your discharge papers and stuff.
I could start today?
Yeah. Are you currently receiving AFDC?
My mother get AFDC
for me and my daughter.
So your mother has custody of you and
your daughter, and you're on her budget?
Okay, well, I'm gonna need a copy
of your mother's budget,
and a copy of your phone bill
and your utility bill.
We gotta give you a few tests,
test your reading and your math level,
see where to place you.
Hold on, baby. Each One Teach One, hold.
To enter into the GED classes,
you gotta get an 8.0 or better on the TABE.
There's always something wrong
with these tests.
These tests paint a picture of me
with no brain.
These tests paint a picture
of me and my mother,
my whole family, as less than dumb.
Just ugly, black grease to be wiped away,
find another job for.
Sometimes I wish I was dead.
I'll be okay, I guess,
'cause I'm looking up.
I'm looking up for a piano to fall.
Or a desk, couch, TV... Momma, maybe.
Always something in my way.
Yeah, man.
Yo, make sure you get that
for me, too, man.
Man, you gotta stop smoking
them shits, man.
That ain't the only thing
that's gonna fucking kill you.
Hustling in these streets gonna kill you.
It is what it is.
Then my mind come back down to Earth.
Let me get some of that sweet ass, orca!
What up, mama?
Why boys always grabbing on themselves?
You heard what the fuck I said?
I said give me some fucking ass.
I'm serious!
When you gonna let me hit that?
That bitch is laughing...
I wish they'd leave me alone.
- She's stupid.
- Yeah.
Yo, that's not even funny.
That's what she'd get anyway, no.
Ma, I need some money!
Ma, I'm hungry!
Come take care of Mommy, Precious.
I wish she'd stop this shit.
The other day I cried.
I felt stupid. But you know what?
Fuck that day.
That's why God, or whoever,
makes new days.
Still hungry, though.
Nigger wants me to leave my kids.
They're my kids.
- What d'you want, baby?
- Give me a basket, please.
- Sides?
- I don't know yet.
Still thinking about it.
Trying to watch my figure.
Butchie, you got a 10-piece ready?
Potato salad.
Thank you.
Hell, no, she didn't!
Get her ass! Get that big bitch!
No, I am not the one.
You in ABE?
Time's a-wasting.
What's your name?
Are you coming in?
That door closes in 20 seconds.
How are you guys doing today?
Would you like to join us, Consuelo?
Consuelo, class is beginning.
You guys know
that you are in the ABE class.
This is not GED.
This is to get you ready for your GED.
These journals are very important
to this class, so do not forget them.
You will need to use them every day
that you are here.
They are the key to this class.
It's 9:07, Joann. You're late.
You're the one who said breakfast is
the most important meal of the day.
Tomorrow, that door will be locked at 9:00.
I want you to state your name,
where you were born,
your favorite color, something you do well
and why you're here.
I'll go first.
When you due?
- My name...
- What you mean, you don't know? Blu Rain.
- That's your real name?
- Yes, it is.
Your first name's Blu?
My favorite color is purple. I sing well.
And I'm here
because I love to teach.
She like to sing.
I wish I could sing.
Go to church and sing in the choir.
Show them how it's done.
All right.
My name is Rhonda Patrice Johnson.
- I should smack her.
- What?
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica,
and my favorite color is blue.
And I cook good.
My mother, she used to have a restaurant
over on 7th Avenue.
Before she get sick,
she teach me everything.
So I'm here to get my reading up,
so I can get my GED.
My name is Rita Romero.
I was born here in Harlem.
I'm here 'cause I was an addict
and I dropped out of school.
So I never got
my reading and writing together.
My favorite color's black.
What do you do good?
"Well," Joann. "What do you do well?"
- What do I do well?
- No. Rita?
I'm a good mother. Very good mother.
My name's Jermaine.
My favorite color is red.
Tell us where you were born first.
I was born in the Bronx. Still live there.
My favorite color is red. Used to be blue.
I can dance real good.
Homie of mine told me
about Each One Teach One,
so I came here to stay out of trouble.
So you came here to Harlem
to stay out of trouble? Is that right?
- Consuelo?
- This is bullshit.
You think so?
Can I skip, too?
Okay. I'm Joann. Hey.
My favorite color is fluorescent beige
and my ambition is to have
my own record layer.
What's a record layer?
Tell us where you come from
and why you come to this school.
I was born in Kings County Hospital,
but my mother moved us to Harlem
when I was nine.
I'm here to get my GED, and then...
Well, I'm already into the music industry.
I'm just trying to take care of
this little education thing so I can move up.
Let's begin. This is ABE.
Can I go?
I wish I could sit
in the back of the class again.
My name Claireece "Precious" Jones.
I go by Precious.
I live in Harlem. I like yellow.
And I had problems at my other school,
so I come here.
Something you do well?
Everybody's good at something.
Come on.
Well, I can cook. And...
I never really talked in class before.
How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel here.
Everybody open their journal.
Write the date at the top of the page,
and write.
I don't care if you spell everything wrong.
I don't care if it's grammatically
incorrect. But just write.
Write anything that you're feeling.
This class will be a revolving door.
Some of you will make it
and some of you won't.
Fifteen minutes. Go.
Before, I got a A-minus at English,
and I didn't have to say nothing.
Ms. Rain said we gonna read
and write in our notebooks every day.
How we supposed to do that?
But then she see the worry on my face
and she say,
"The longest journey
begin with a single step."
Whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean.
Come on, come on, do the work.
You love it, love it, learn it.
"C" for Consuelo.
"C" for kick your ass.
It's "K" for kick your ass, stupid.
I got the "D," Ms. Rain.
"D" for dick.
Ms. Rain, tell this little-ass bitch
that she don't know me.
Which you wish you had.
- Help her.
- "E."
"F" for fat.
Hey! Hey! Hey! Quit it! Hey!
- What?
- Hey, you stop it right now!
- You fucking...
- Quit it!
- She just hit me!
- Drop it!
Shut the fuck up!
She just slapped me!
Get out.
We don't fight in my class. Sit down.
"C" for cold.
Do you live with anybody?
My mother.
What does she do?
She don't do nothing.
I want you to read a page from this book.
All I need you to do is sound out
these words for me.
You don't have to know every word.
You just have to... It doesn't matter
if you stumble or... Try for me...
...or trip up on it.
You just need to say what you know.
Come on. You can do this.
Try. Take it word by word.
- Are you listening to me?
- Precious!
I just wanna know where you are
in your reading skills.
'Cause I'm looking at your test scores...
Some higher fucking learning.
You're a dumb bitch!
Try to read, okay?
Just help me and then I can help you.
We'll start from scratch. Word for word.
I want you better than your mother.
- I'm gonna call the nurse.
- No.
It all look the same to me.
What's this?
I can't do that, Ms. Rain.
Push yourself.
What's this word?
Do you know the letters? Come on.
Do you know that word?
What word is that?
Ate. Ate.
Good. Almost. The word is "At."
Sound it out.
The word is "Shore."
It's almost like "Beach."
Very good.
Now, read the whole thing for me.
"At The
Get your big ass in here.
Where was you at this morning?
You hear me talking to you?
Where was you at this morning?
School. I was at school.
You a lying whore.
- I'm not lying.
- You is.
The welfare done called here saying
they gonna remove you from my budget
'cause you ain't been
attending school regularly.
I told you I got kicked out.
I been home nearly every day
for two weeks now.
You ain't told me nothing
about no damn school today.
I told you I was going
to school this morning.
You plan on putting some food
in that frying pan?
Precious, you got something
you wanna say?
- No.
- Then don't be slamming shit down in here.
You understand?
Yes, ma'am.
You need to forget about that school shit
and take your ass down to the welfare.
I'm getting a stipend from school.
Fool, what the fuck is a stipend?
What is that?
Fuck a stipend.
I said take your ass down to the welfare.
Right now?
Why in the fuck would you go right now?
It's at night time. Shit is closed.
You gotta be there by 7:00 a.m.
in the morning
if you wanna talk to somebody.
Fucking stupid.
You think you're too good now?
Is that what it is?
You think you is too good for the welfare?
There's more white folk getting assistance
than it is niggers, Ms. Onassis.
I think I said therapy...
Hurry your ass up.
I am in here fucking starving.
Now what you gonna do
if I die of starvation?
Where you gonna go after that?
I forgot. School.
Each... What that bitch say?
Each one do what?
Each one teach one?
Well, they don't know
who the fuck they teaching,
'cause you can't learn shit.
Keep on listening to them white people.
That's what's gonna get you fucked up.
Precious, I'm hungry.
You ain't cooked no collard greens
with the fucking pigs' feet?
Like, how am I supposed to eat pigs' feet
with no collard greens?
And why in the fuck does that pigs' feet
have so much hair in it?
You eat it. You come eat this shit.
- I'm not hungry, though.
- Yes, you is.
Precious, if you don't get
this goddamn plate...
You just fix mine when you get done.
Since you fucked it up, you gonna eat it up.
Hurry up and eat, Precious.
I'm fucking hungry, too.
And don't let it get cold,
'cause cold-ass pigs' feet is nasty as shit.
So, tell me about...
Tell me about your home life.
Ain't nothing to really talk about.
You're in a safe place. Just talk.
What's going on?
What's the first thing
that comes to your mind
when you think about home?
I just wish I had my own TV,
so I could watch it in my room.
If I had my own TV,
I wouldn't have to watch it with my mother.
And what's it like,
watching TV with your mother?
You enjoy watching TV with your mother?
I need to know about your home life.
I need to know what it's like where you live.
My mother's like a whale on the couch.
She say I eat all the time,
but she always making me eat.
Then she call me a fat mess.
She say the apartment
is little 'cause of me.
Only time she ever leaves
is to play her numbers.
I feel like I could just sit in the house
with her every day,
the shades drawn,
watch TV, eat, watch TV, eat again.
Can you help out with that?
Can we talk about something else now?
How about your firstborn?
Mongo is her... Is that...
Mongo. That's short for "mongoloid."
Is that what you call her? Or that's...
What is that? A nickname?
She got Down's syndrome.
How you doing, Precious?
My grandmother Toosie
bring little Mongo over to our house
on days when the social worker come,
so it look like she live with us.
Answer the fucking door.
Do you see what you did? God damn it.
Then my mother gets money
and the food stamps for me and Mongo.
Who is it?
It's Ms. Turner.
Social worker's here.
Why didn't you tell me that bitch
was coming so fucking early?
My fucking wig. Come get my wig!
Come up!
Where's my lipstick?
Thank you, thank you.
- Get off of me.
- Leave that child alone, please.
Mind your goddamn business.
- Hi, Precious.
- Hey.
- Hello, Ms. Turner. How you doing?
- Hi, Mary. How are you?
Please excuse that.
My sweet grandbaby just knocked it over.
Please, have a seat. Excuse the mess.
- Thank you.
- Thanks.
How are you, Mary?
I'm doing really good, Ms. Turner.
Thank you.
When was the last time
you've taken her to the doctor?
Precious, when...
When did we take her? The baby?
Last month.
Yeah... On the 16th.
On the 16th. Yes, yes, ma'am.
Okay, and what did the doctor say?
They said
that she's progressing really good.
She's doing really good.
- That's good.
- Yes, ma'am.
And have you been looking for a job?
I have, Ms. Turner. I am.
But they've all been saying the same thing.
You know, they'll call me back.
They'll get back to me.
When did you go looking for the job?
I went last week
and I filled out several applications.
And they all said the same thing,
that they would call me.
No! No!
Is that a new microwave oven?
A... A microwave?
No, ma'am.
We warm our things up in the oven.
- I see. It's a toaster oven.
- Yes. Yes, ma'am.
I will be seeing and speaking with you
in a week or so.
- In a week or so?
- Yes.
Okay, do you know what time you'll be...
You'll be coming?
- I'll let you know.
- Okay.
- I'll let you know.
- Thank you so much.
Precious, any questions for me?
How are you, Precious?
I'm doing good. How you doing?
I'm good, thank you.
Ladies, thank you for your time.
Thank you so much, Ms. Turner.
Have a great day.
- And you. Bye, Sheila.
- Bye.
Come get this motherfucking... Get her.
Moving all around and shit
while I'm trying to talk to this bitch.
Makes me fucking itch.
She done threw her fucking candy
on the floor.
Goddamn animal.
And now you gonna give it to her?
Put the fucking candy back on the floor!
Then you go and pick it up
and let her have it.
You're so fucking stupid.
Just like her dumb ass.
That bitch gonna come up in here
and I gotta fucking make pretend?
I'm so sick of it.
I don't know what the fuck
you shaking your head for.
You didn't do no goddamn better.
You know what?
Let's talk about your father.
Tell me about your relationship with him.
I don't know much more
than you do, Ms. White.
It's Ms. Weiss.
Talk to me about
the little you do know about your father,
'cause it is important,
whether you know it or not.
He give me this baby
and my one before it, but I...
What did you say he gave you?
- Nothing.
- No, Claireece, you just said
your father gave you something.
- I heard you just say...
- You didn't hear shit.
- I heard you say your father...
- I ain't say nothing. I ain't say shit like it.
- I don't care, honey.
- I didn't say nothing like that.
- I need to know this.
- Let's move on.
I need to know this to help you.
- Bitch, can we change the subject?
- Okay.
Well, I'll see you next time, then.
Or maybe you'll see someone else.
But you're gonna have to talk to somebody
if you want your check, sweetie.
I see vampires, too.
They come at night.
They tell me I'm one of them.
They say, "Precious, you belong with us."
And then they go downstairs
through the floor.
The people that live under us,
they is vampires,
so that's where they should go.
They be so nasty, though,
leaving their dirty tampons and shit
in the garbage.
Don't even offer to take it out.
They got no fucking home training.
I been going to the doctor, too. It's nice.
Ms. Rain fall out when she found out
I ain't never been to no doctor before.
Don't know how I had my first baby
on the kitchen floor
with my momma kicking me
upside my head.
Them the kind of things
you're talking about
when you say,
say whatever come to my mind?
That's the end of them welfare checks.
I just couldn't lie no more.
I shouldn't have said none of that.
Momma gonna kill me.
Are we done?
I'm not doing this with you today.
At night, we went out on a field trip.
These girls is crazy.
Ain't nobody ever grabbed my hand
like that before. a candidate
for the Democratic nomination
for the presidency
of the United States of America.
...and by having destroyed it,
now we don't know...
...and the testimony you're about to give
will be the truth, the whole truth...
I still have a dream.
It is a dream deeply rooted
in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day
this nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of...
I'm gonna teach my baby all of this.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident,
"that all men are created equal."
No fear. That's bullshit. That's bullshit.
You mean, write a whole new one?
No, girl, if I need to
explain myself to you...
- You'll figure it out.
- You think that I'm stupid?
Oh, my God. That I believe in you?
That I think you're incredible?
Yes, but I don't know what to do.
All right, pull it together. Okay.
Who's next?
I'm happy to be writing.
- Go ahead, Rhonda.
- I'm happy to be in school, too.
Ms. Rain say we gonna write
every day in our notebook.
She gonna write back to us every day, too.
"Yesterday I went to church for
the first time since I come to this country.
"I got all the way to Brooklyn.
"The church was up the block and around
the corner upon the 3 train.
"The preacher preached
two and a half hours
- "about Jehovah.
- Rhonda! Rhonda!
"And how Lord Jesus, Son of God, Messiah,
Jehovah delivers."
Is that a fairytale?
Sit down.
Did anybody do this assignment?
Momma say this school ain't shit.
She say you can't learn nothing
writing in no book.
- This is a fairytale called "Enchanted."
- She wrong about that. I is learning.
"Once upon a time, in a faraway land,
"there lived a beautiful princess
named Joann-a.
"She was very, very fly
and extra, extra tall,
"and every single boy loved her,
big and small.
"Except for one idiot boy
who was so stupid and dumb.
"And out of all the cute boys who loved her,
he was the cutest one."
- That's all I got so far.
- That's a good beginning.
Thinking about little Mongo, too.
I miss her.
That's how you start a fairytale.
I'm happy my baby coming up.
I'm gonna read to this baby, too,
and hang colors on its wall.
Listen, baby. Mother not dumb.
Mother love you. Listen.
"Once upon a time,
there was a magical princess
"who lived in a magical bubble
under the sea.
"And she was from land."
Stop screaming.
His name's Abdul Jamal Lewis Jones.
He healthy. His mother love him.
The food in this hospital's nasty.
It's not from here.
Where it from?
A little shop by my house where
I get my organic food,
so I don't have to eat that
nasty mystery-meat stuff
they got downstairs.
Can you bring me something?
I don't like fruit. I like McDonald's.
First of all, I don't eat McDonald's.
Second of all, you don't need
to be eating McDonald's, either.
It's not healthy.
But I like McDonald's.
We all like McDonald's, right?
We like McDonald's, too, over here.
I don't like no damn McDonald's.
I want some of that organic shit
like you got.
Well, I tell you what,
when you get up out of here,
you go with all your little friends,
and you go to McDonald's,
and you get as much
McDonald's as you want.
But right now,
you're gonna take care of your health.
Are you a doctor?
- Are you her doctor?
- Am I a doctor?
- Yeah.
- I am a nurse's aide.
Nurse John-John.
Oh, that's funny?
Well, you're a man.
- You've never seen a male nurse?
- No.
Not looking like you do.
I am a male nurse.
I am Nurse John McFadden.
So was you up in the room
when she popped the baby out?
You was like, all up in between her...
Joann, don't be nasty!
How was it? Was he screaming?
It hurt.
Tough gal like you had to scream?
Not so tough with a baby coming out of me.
It hurt. And it burned.
- Are you married?
- Shut up!
You got a girlfriend?
- Why you asking? He don't want you.
- How would you know?
Why don't you stop being a ho
for 10 minutes?
What's wrong with these people?
You don't want her, right?
I wish I was a cantaloupe in that cup.
So he could eat you?
Okay, no. I gotta go. I gotta go.
No, that's all right. That's all right.
Can I get a kiss, too, Nurse John?
- Good afternoon, ladies.
- Bye, Nurse John.
- Bye!
- Good night, Nurse John-John!
Precious and John-John
Sitting in a tree
- F-U-C-K-I-N-G
- Shut up! Y'all are nasty.
You think he's spending the night
up in here?
Now she gonna write
about Nurse John in her book!
"Dear Ms. Rain,
"All the years I sit in
class, I never learned.
"Now I got a baby again by my father.
"I wish I had a boyfriend like other girls.
"Then I'll feel right
that I have to quit school.
"I love my baby, but I want school, too.
"Social worker ask me
if I wanna give little Mongo
"and Abdul up for adoption.
I could kill her.
"She never helped before.
Now she wanna take my kids away?
"If she takes Abdul,
I won't have nothing no more."
"Dear Precious,
"I think your first responsibility
has to be to yourself.
"If you keep Abdul, you might have nothing.
"You're learning to read and write.
That's everything.
"You come back to school
when you get out of the hospital.
"You're only 17."
This looks like a big-ass condom.
Use that for Nurse John.
Not looking like that.
Your hair looks a mess.
- I'm giving you banjee.
- Shut up!
I got your journal.
Thank you.
What's wrong?
Are you sure?
Yeah, I'm sure.
All right. I'm bored. I'm
about to leave. Bye.
Bye, Ms. Toosie.
You got a nasty-ass mouth.
You got a nasty-ass hat.
That's what's wrong,
you hanging out with bitches like that.
Here's your baby.
It's probably the last time
you're gonna ever see him.
Grandmother come and visit and say,
"Only a dog would drop a baby
and walk off."
Not even a dog.
Say later, "Not even a dog."
I'm proud of you.
Ain't nothing like your mother.
"Where was your grandmother
when your father was abusing you?
"Where is little Mongo now?
"What is going to be the best thing for you
in this situation?"
"Ms. Rain, you ask too many questions.
"Sometimes I wish I could stop breathing.
"I just wanna be a good mother."
"Being a good mother might mean
letting Abdul be raised
"by someone who's better able than you
to meet his needs."
"Ms. Rain, I is the best
to meet my child's needs."
"Who's gonna help you?
"How will you support yourself?
"How will you keep learning
to read and write?"
"The welfare helped Momma."
"You look and see
how much welfare has helped your mom.
"You could get your GED,
"and go to college.
You can do anything, Precious."
You back?
What's his name?
Can I hold it?
Hey, Precious.
You had the baby?
A boy.
Where you been all this time?
Let me see him.
Can I hold him?
He look like his daddy.
He named Abdul.
Put all this shit down
and go get me something to drink.
You bitch!
- You fucking bitch!
- You crazy, Momma?
Am I crazy? Bitch, if I was to...
You ruined my fucking life!
You done took my man,
you had those fucking babies,
and you got me put off the welfare
for running your goddamned
stupid-ass mouth!
I ain't stupid and I didn't take your man.
Your husband raped me!
Didn't no-fucking-body rape you!
Bitch, don't you put
your fucking hands on me!
Mary, leave that girl alone!
Can I see the baby now?
B... C... D...
E... F... G... H...
I... J... K...
I'm tired of shopping.
Yes, because they all trying
to take your money.
They don't...
I'm calling the cops.
Tell me what you see back there.
I could tell by Ms. Rain's face
I ain't gonna be homeless no more.
I just don't know
where I'm gonna end up, though.
I'll hold.
I feel bad for her.
She just an ABC teacher.
She ain't no social worker.
What's going on?
But she all I could think of.
Look, when the others get here,
tell them to start writing.
And whichever one of you is older
is in charge, okay?
Consuelo, I know that's not you.
Come here.
Ms. Rain, I can't stay. I'm serious.
I've tried to talk...
Consuelo, you're not leaving class
and I'm not dealing with this right now.
Take this money.
Go get something for Precious to wear.
Quick. And bring back my change.
Sixteen years old. A three-day-old infant.
The baby not bleeding.
I think this is Precious' blood.
Well, why didn't you tell me that before?
We'll find you a place to live.
Joann, you're late.
Rhonda, you ain't the teacher.
Joann, Ms. Rain is busy
with Precious today,
so I am the teacher today.
Okay. Why?
- Where's Precious?
- Just sit. Pull out your notebook.
Joann, you wanna say one of your raps
to the baby?
What's the baby doing here?
- Joann's gonna rap for you.
- Let me see.
She all right. She's doing good.
Why is the baby wrapped up
in a blood-covered blanket?
- Joann, what's so funny?
- For real. What happened?
You don't wanna know is
how it got on the blanket.
You know what your problem is, Joann?
That you can't take anything
serious enough.
- Jermaine, me expect better from you.
- Okay, Rhonda.
Joann, stop laughing at this baby.
Let me call you back.
Just tell me what happened!
No, it's not funny.
But Joann, there's nothing funny
about a baby with blood on it.
I got a West Indian friend
who's a Council member.
Let me see what she can do.
Hold on a second.
I found a lesson plan in our notebooks.
We're gonna...
Claireece Jones.
Hey, Ms. Lisa. How you been?
I don't know.
I went to see that movie, Barfly, last night.
Piece of shit.
- I'm sorry.
- It's on my desk. Can you hold?
Something's wrong with you, Precious.
This baby stink.
Well, we don't have a Pamper,
so have a seat with the baby.
- I am sitting.
- In your seat, please.
The first thing
is shut the bumba-ros-clot...
Ms. Rain, why did you let Rhonda
teach the class?
She don't even know how to speak English.
Let Rhonda take over.
- Shut the bumba-ros-clot up.
- What the fuck is a "ros clot"?
Yeah, Brenda, you there?
The last four of the Social are...
- Rita?
- I just wanna know how to spell "Aquarius."
- Anybody know how to spell "Aquarius"?
- It's A-Q-U-A-R-l-U-S.
Can you spell "boy" then?
Can you spell "slut" then?
Let's explore that.
You wanna spell "slut," Consuelo,
I'll give you the first letter.
Can you spell "illegal immigrant," then?
Great, thank you.
Can you please use "slut" in a sentence?
Consuelo is a slut...
- You the one who's the ho up in here...
- Joann is not a slut.
Perfect. You get a gold star.
But you know she likes that.
Well, she's just insecure.
- You think?
- Yeah.
- That chicken was good.
- Really good. Did you have enough?
There ain't more, is there?
- Is there more?
- Yeah.
Maybe later. Not now.
I don't want you to think I'm greedy.
You're not greedy.
If you're hungry, let's get you some more.
I guess I kind of eat
too much sometimes, though.
No, you don't.
- Blu, is that you?
- Not always.
What are you doing here?
I live here. Why didn't you tell me?
- Hey, sweetie.
- Is this... Is this...
This is Katherine, Precious.
- Are you okay?
- It's so nice to meet you, finally.
Oh, my God. These straight-up lesbians.
- This is Abdul.
- He's gorgeous. He looks just like you.
Precious, can I hold him?
You know how to?
They still nice enough
to let us stay in their home
until I get situated, though.
- He's heavy. Oh, my God!
- You wanna hold him?
I guess this is how the peoples
on TV feel at Christmastime.
- Don't drop him.
- Come on. I only work with children.
You know how you are. I saw you...
When we were putting up the tree,
you dropped half the top of it.
They're so nice to me and Abdul.
- Be careful. Hold him with both hands.
- Please.
Oh, Abdul.
Merry Christmas, Precious.
Thank you.
Why peoples that barely know me
should be nicer to me
than my mother and my father?
I felt warm.
- What?
- I'm just...
I'm just concerned about the baby
and the cats upstairs.
They're fine.
Grandmother's scared of Momma.
I know that's why
she ain't letting me stay with her.
If Ronald McDonald were running things...
Ms. Rain say don't be afraid of nothing.
I bet she ain't scared of Momma.
Wouldn't you be a little bit suspicious?
Just write the book.
- Well, who's gonna read it?
- Nobody, if you don't write it.
You know, Precious writes every day.
You should try it.
Is that right?
What do you write about, Precious?
My life. Abdul.
How come y'all don't like McDonald's?
Katherine was just drawing a comparison
so that her point could be
more easily understood.
They talk like TV channels I don't watch.
My Uncle Clayton.
I'm glad Abdul here to listen in on them,
though, 'cause I know they're smart.
Before he got saved,
he used to smoke like a chimney
and drink like a fish.
I don't understand a word they're saying.
You understand?
Y'all be watching Oprah?
No. I don't, actually.
You know what time I get home from work.
- I watch it.
- Momma say homos is bad peoples.
But Momma,
homos not ones who raped me.
And what do that make you?
Homos not ones who let me sit in class
all them years and never learn nothing.
The homos not ones who sell crack
to peoples in Harlem.
- ...that I have ever seen. Tell her!
- That doesn't work.
I wonder what Oprah got to say about that.
Ms. Rain is the one
who put the chalk in my hand,
made me queen of the ABC's.
After I settled at the halfway house,
I worked my hardest
to memorize letter sounds,
writing in the journal,
and reading smaller and fatter books.
Then I found out the Mayor's office
give me a literacy award
and a check for progress.
One, two, three.
The party is on.
Go, Joann!
Let me see what you got!
Everybody come. Nurse John, Cornrows,
all the staff was out there.
Even Ms. Katherine showed up.
What's up?
What's that?
What does it look like?
Plastic stupid apple.
A little something for you.
- Is there more money in it?
- You're so greedy.
Yo, who's that?
- What?
- Come on.
Precious, where are you taking me?
What am I supposed to do, diva? Yeah?
Wait a minute. Hold on, girl.
My mom called last night.
And we don't really have a relationship.
We don't talk,
because she really has a problem with...
Some folks got a light around them
that shine for other peoples.
I think maybe some of them was in tunnels,
and in that tunnel,
maybe the only light they had
was inside of them.
Then I thought about how strong
you've had to be.
And then,
even long after they escaped that tunnel...
- I'll help you clean up.
- Okay.
...they still be shining
for everybody else.
That's Ms. Rain to me.
"Award for Outstanding Achievement."
In a book I read,
this lady escaped to a halfway house.
And when she was there,
she asked the people there
what a halfway house was.
They told her it was halfway between
her old life and where she wanna be.
That's kind of nice.
That also mean I can't stay here forever.
There's still a way to go.
It'd be something to get my own apartment.
Abdul nine months and almost walking.
He's smart, too.
I've been reading to him
since the day he was born.
He's barely talking,
but he's already counting.
Momma, Daddy,
IS 111, 444 Lenox all seem
like some old, bad dream.
I wish I could've just started out here,
but still with Abdul.
I'm gonna get Mongo, too.
I gotta get Mongo back.
Hey, Miss Cassidy.
Hey, Precious,
somebody downstairs for you.
- Who is it?
- I didn't ask who it was.
You want me to watch the baby?
No, I gotta go down and get him anyway.
Your daddy dead.
That's all?
He had that AIDS virus.
There you go, dreaming again!
Precious, do you hear me talking to you?
Did you hear what I said?
You got it?
Got what?
- The AIDS virus.
- No.
How do you know?
We never did it up in the ass, so I know.
You better get to a doctor, Mom.
You coming home?
Yo, Precious!
Rita, what do I mean when I say the author
describes her protagonist's circumstances
as "unrelenting"?
I don't know. I don't know.
It's like, say, like if Rita,
she tries to do something,
and she's going and she's going,
and me, I try to stop her
and she no stop, she keep on going.
I'll see you tonight. Bye.
Come with me.
Excuse me?
Nurse say I'm HIV positive.
I ain't got nothing to write today.
Is your baby okay?
He all right.
I just got to stop breastfeeding him.
Remember, you once told me
you never really got to tell your story.
- Write.
- Fuck you!
You know nothing
of what I've been through.
I ain't never had no boyfriend.
My daddy said he gonna marry me.
How he gonna do that?
It would fucking be illegal!
I'm tired, Ms. Rain.
If not for yourself,
then for the people who love you.
Nobody loves me.
People do love you, Precious.
Please don't lie to me, Ms. Rain.
Love ain't done nothing for me.
Love beat me, raped me,
called me an animal,
make me feel worthless.
Make me sick.
That wasn't love, Precious.
Your baby loves you.
I love you.
What are you thinking?
You never told me about
your relationship with your mother.
I didn't, did I?
Really, I'm here to help you.
You can talk to me.
This is a safe environment.
You're right.
We could talk about your daddy instead.
We could talk about my mother, my father,
my aunts or my sister or my brother,
but none of it's gonna help you.
You don't even like me.
Have we not been in this room together
for, like, a year, discussing your life?
Does that mean we like each other,
because we discuss my life?
I can't speak for you.
I can only speak for me,
and I do like you. I do.
So, are you Italian, or...
What color are you, anyway?
Are you some type of black or Spanish?
What color do you think I am?
No, I'd like to know.
What color do you think I am?
My throat is dry.
Your throat is dry?
It's really hot in here.
It is kind of hot in here.
I'm gonna go get a soda.
What do you want?
Soda sounds fine.
All right.
Thank you.
No problem.
So, I have to talk to
you about your mother,
and I don't know
how you're gonna feel about this,
but she says she wants to see you
and she wants to be reunited
with you and her grandchildren.
She wants to come
and have a session here with you.
What did you tell her?
I said I had to speak to you about it.
It's up to you.
I don't know.
I never thought about it before.
Ms. Weiss said in that file I got HIV.
She said I was supposed to die from it.
I ain't worried about dying.
Shit, I gotta worry about
how I'm supposed to raise these kids.
I was just writing, like, about...
I wanna open up this clinic
about, like, mothers and their children.
You know, just,
if they're sick or something like that.
I always wanted to do that,
give back to the community.
Because I know my mom would be
proud of me if I did that,
and my children, too.
I want my children to be proud
of their mother, you know?
- That's always what I wanted to do, so...
- That's good. That's really nice.
I don't really want to read the whole thing,
I kind of just wanna say what it's about.
Okay, the counsellors
at Advancement House,
they were quizzing me
about my mother and my father, right?
But it's not really about them.
They're trying to get me to do workfare.
- They want me to be a home attendant.
- How do you know?
Because I stole my file and I read it.
All they want me to do is work.
Now, I do wanna work,
but not for no welfare check.
What kind of sense that make,
for somebody like Precious to quit school
before she got her GED
and go work
for some old white people somewhere?
She ain't never gonna be nothing
if she gets stuck in some shit like that.
Rhonda used to home attend.
She used to have to go all the way out
to Brighton Beach.
Yeah, okay, Rhonda would be
working there all day and night.
She'd be on call, right?
She made $6.37 an hour,
but for only eight hours.
That equal out to $50.96.
But that's not a whole lot of money,
especially 'cause,
for real, she there for 24 hours.
So, $50.96 divided by 24
is $2.12 an hour. That's
not a lot of money.
She said that old bitch would ring a bell,
like, a real-life, actual bell
when she wanted something from her
in the middle of the night.
- You don't want to do that shit.
- Rhonda, is that true? Rhonda!
Them home attendants be working for, like,
six days a week.
I'd only see Abdul on Sunday.
Plus, I'd have to leave class.
Well, that's not an option.
You're not leaving class.
Plus, I'm gonna start going to
insect survivor meetings.
It's "incest."
- That ain't what I said?
- No, you said "insect."
What's the difference?
Well, one's where your family molests you,
the other's like a roach or bugs.
- So, you a scientist now?
- I'm just saying.
No, that's cool. Thank you. Thank you.
It was hard telling them strangers there
what my father did.
Sometimes it felt good.
Last week, Ms. Rain asked us
to write down what we wanna be like.
I wrote that I be real skinny,
with light skin and long hair.
Loretha Holloway?
Go on back there.
She read it and said I'm
beautiful like I am.
But, there's no kids back there
for me to play with.
Just shut up and sit there, then.
Gonna talk to this lady
before my shit gets cut off.
But somehow,
right now... And I don't know why, but...
I think she right.
Claireece Jones?
I think she right.
Okay, Mrs. Johnston,
let's talk about the abuse.
There were no drugs in my house.
I didn't play that.
There weren't no drugs in my house.
Precious knew I would whup her ass
if she gonna bring some drugs
up in my house.
You know what I'm talking about.
I'm referring to specific
sexual and physical acts
involving Precious.
Why you ain't say that?
Yes, that.
What do you wanna know?
According to Precious' files,
she has now had two children
by your boyfriend,
the late Carl Kenwood Jones,
who was also her father.
- Yeah.
- This is accurate?
Yes, Ms. Weiss.
I need to know why you're here.
You've been calling this office
saying you want to be reunited
with Precious and your grandchild.
Now, I really need to know
what's gone on in that home.
Ms. Weiss,
I understand we need to discuss it,
but I'm just telling you.
You said I've been calling here
and I've been wanting to see
Precious and my grandson.
You're goddamn right I wanna see them.
Because they belong to me. Okay?
Now, there was a time
Precious had everything,
and I done told her that.
And me and Carl, we loved Precious.
And you need to know that.
We loved Precious and we had dreams.
Precious was born around the same time
Ms. West's son got killed.
The summertime.
She was born in the summertime.
Remember? Remember that?
I was born in November.
Yeah, that's right.
My Scorpio child.
You know...
Scorpios, they can be tricky.
And, I'm not saying that they lie.
I'm not saying that.
But you just gotta watch them.
Can we talk about the actual acts
of physical and sexual abuse
that occurred in your household?
When it first began,
where it happened
and how did you respond?
Precious was a little girl.
Try and remember
how old you think she was.
She was three.
And I had been giving her the bottle
and I was giving Carl the tittie
because my milk hadn't dried up
in my breasts
but not from her, but because Carl was...
Because Carl was sucking on them
and that's what kept my milk in my breasts.
And I thought that that was for hygiene.
I did what my mother told me
that I was supposed to do with my child,
so that's what I did.
And you're sitting up there
and you're trying to judge me...
I'm not judging you,
but you're asking me for money
and you're asking me
to be reunited with your grandson.
But, Ms. Weiss,
I don't like you looking at me like that.
You got this bitch looking at me
like I'm some kind of fucking monster.
We don't talk like this in my office, okay?
I didn't want her sucking behind him,
because that was nasty.
And things that he was...
It was just nasty, Ms. Weiss.
I had a man, and I have a child
and I had to take care of both of them.
Did I want Carl to touch my baby?
Because I would lay my baby.
I would lay her on the side of me,
on this pillow
and it was pink
and it had this little white writing on it
and it had her name,
because she was precious.
And I would lay my baby on that pillow
and Carl would be laying on the other side
and then we would...
We would start doing it
and he reached over
and he touched my baby.
And I asked him,
I said, "Carl, what are you doing?"
And he told me to shut...
To shut my fat ass up,
and it was good for her.
- And what did you do then?
- I shut my fat ass up.
And I don't want you to sit there
and judge me, Ms. Weiss.
You shut up
and you let him abuse your daughter?
I did not want him to abuse my daughter.
- I did not want him to hurt her.
- But you allowed him
- to hurt her.
- I did not want him to do nothing to her.
I wanted him to make love to me.
That was my man.
That was my fucking man.
That was my man
and he wanted my daughter.
And that's why I hated her.
Because my man,
who was supposed to be loving me,
who was supposed
to be making love to me,
was fucking my baby.
She made him leave.
She made him go away.
So, whose fault was it, then?
It's this bitch's fault
because she let my man have her
and she didn't say nothing.
She didn't scream. She didn't do nothing.
So, those things she told you I did to her,
who else was gonna love me?
Since you got your degree
and you know every-fucking-thing,
who was gonna love me,
who was gonna make me feel good?
Who was gonna touch me
and make me feel good late at night?
And she made him go away, so...
When you sit there and you write
them fucking notes on your pad
about who you think I am,
and why I did it, all of that.
Because I didn't have nobody.
The people from
Each One Teach One,
they had... They called me
and they told me that my baby
was writing poems.
In fact, you know what, I got...
Wait a minute.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
And, Ms. Weiss, I don't want no checks.
I don't need no more money. Please.
I'm so sorry.
I took that TABE test again.
And what happened?
I scored a 7.8.
Last time it was 2.8.
According to that test,
I'm reading at
a seventh- and eighth-grade level.
Next year, high school.
After that, college.
Well, I like you, too.
But you can't handle me.
You can't handle none of this.
You know, I never knew what you was
until this day.
Not even after all them things you did.
Maybe I was too stupid, or
maybe I just didn't want to.
You ain't gonna see me no more.
I didn't want him to hurt my baby.
Please, God,
I didn't want him to hurt my baby.
Ms. Weiss,
I didn't want him to hurt my baby.
I would say to him, I would say...
"Carl, what are you doing?
What are you doing? What are you doing?"
Can you go get her back?
You can do that,
because that's what you do.
That's what you do.
I need you to go
and I need you to get my baby back.
You told me that I could come in here
and you could get...
You could get Precious to say...
Ms. Weiss? Ms. Weiss? Ms. Weiss?