A Critical Analysis of the Movie Precious




Movie production involves acting in which characters use their talents to entertain an audience. Acting in movies has turned into a well-paid profession and many people are earning their living by it. Actors always try their best to make their audiences believe in the reality they present (Keating, 1979). There are many things that actors can portray in any film setup. The most common themes that many films bring out are love, hatred, sympathy, Sadness, sorrow, happiness, dictatorship, and embarrassment, among others. Currently, movie production is rapidly developing and increasing in every country, making movie stars rich and famous.

MiniCalc with vip services

Movie Precious Critical Analysis

The movie Precious is directed by Hollywood Production. The movie has very touching themes. Currently, it is mostly watched in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The film is based on the novel “Push,” which is written by Sapphire (Keating, 1979). The executive producers of this movie are Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. This movie was set up in the 1980s.

The Main Character

The main character of the movie is Clireece Precious Jones, who is 16 years old. The girl faced many hardships, which very few people can endure. The girl was physically and emotionally abused by her mother, and later, her drug-addicted father impregnated her. At first, the girl is portrayed as illiterate and quiet (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). When the school threatened to expel Precious because of her pregnancy, she was transferred to another school. The new girl’s teacher Blu Rain and Mrs. Weiss (a social worker) played a very important role in helping the girl deal with her problems.

Some people may take this movie as a very hopeless and sad film, while others claim that it is quite inspirational. The main problem of this girl, as mentioned above, was the pain and embarrassment she felt due to the torture she had undergone. She was abused by her parents and she was expelled from her first school. The mother was an animal to her and the father was a beast. It was devastating to the girl as her hope was in vain. Precious was a little bit relieved when the two teachers (Blu Rain and Mrs. Weiss) showed some concern for her welfare and tried to console her. The movie portrays the various stages of development of the girl’s life.

Case Description

Biologically, the girl was tortured because of the pregnancy that she got from her father. There can be a defect in the case of gene interaction from blood-related people. The two pregnancies posed a threat to the girl’s health since they could cause physical and mental problems. The girl was young when the father impregnated her, and most probably, her body was not ready for any pregnancy at that time; therefore, it hurt the overall physical well-being of the girl. This means that normal biological functioning was interfered with. The girl was affected psychologically as well. First, it is not normal for a girl to have a pregnancy at that age; she was not ready for that. What is more, the girl got pregnant by her father, which is again unusual and was a big blow to the psychological life of the girl. It is also torture in that other student who associated with Precious may have developed a negative attitude towards her. Some may have laughed at her because of their pregnancy and more because that pregnancy was caused by her father. The girl was affected psychologically by her friends’ attitude. The girl was also greatly affected socially. Most societies do not accept incest. In society, she might have been regarded as an outcast.

The fact that this girl was expelled from the school due to the pregnancy is also a big blow to the girl’s psychological life (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). Every person needs to socialize in a free and enjoyable manner. The girl was affected, because those who used to socialize with her would not be very free with her because of the pregnancy and also because the pregnancy was caused by her father. This may make many of her peers and friends simply avoid her, which is very difficult for the girl and hurts her social life.

Theoretical Analysis of the Case

Many things brought a halt to the girl’s life. The biggest problem is presented by her parents. The mother the name Mary is not nearly ideal. She is a smoker, which is a very odd behavior for a mother. The lifestyle of the mother greatly impacts a child, as she is the person that spends most of the time with the kid. The mother of Precious abuses the daughter physically and even emotionally. This is a great problem for the girl, and this is the start of the girl’s life destruction.

As if it is not enough, the same mother mistreats the girl by ignoring the behavior of the father. The girl is always left alone hailing from the troubles (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). The father of this girl is also a great problem because he behaves in a way that cannot be expected from a normal caring father. First, the father is not concerned by the fact that the mother abuses Precious and, instead, he worsens the situation by impregnating the girl. This is an act that cannot be tolerated in all aspects whether biblical, social, or biological.

All of this has a tremendous impact on the consequent behavior of the girl. The life of this girl is actually to a large extent destroyed by the father who impregnates her twice. This becomes torture to her in various aspects of life. It affects Precious psychologically, biologically, and also socially. Another person that made the life of the girl change negatively is the principal of the former school. What was expected of this principal did not happen practically. When the girl explained what she was undergoing, a good principal was supposed to understand and even find a solution that would console her.

However, the principal found a simple but inhumane solution to the problem (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). Chasing the girl out of the school was not a good solution for the girl but instead, it added to her suffering of the girl. All these scenarios led to a loss of self-esteem by Precious. On the other hand, other people played an important role in making the life of the girl worthy of living. The closest person that helped Precious is the grandmother, who saw her granddaughter suffering from all these problems. The grandmother tried to help her granddaughter, but she also did this in the fear of the girl’s mother, who did not her mother to help Precious.

The acceptance of the girl to the second school was also an important positive step. So the principal of the second school was a milestone in the life of the girl both socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Another person that served an important positive role is Ms. Rain, who was the class teacher. She always helped the girl to cope with her problems. We get from the film that this teacher was very much concerned with the lives of her students.

The teacher tried as much as she could to help the girl cope with her problems. Mrs. Weiss, who was a social worker, was also brought to light as another person whose role was of great importance in the life of this girl. She was very concerned about the welfare of Precious and she joined hands with the class teacher to ensure that the girl coped with all the problems that posed a threat to her life.

The Stage-Based Theories That Influenced the Behavior of the Character

These are Piaget’s cognitive theory and Erickson’s psychosocial theory. According to Piaget’s cognitive theory, the behavior of the character was much influenced by the formal, operational stage. As Piaget explains, this is a stage at which an individual can exercise hypothetical thinking and the so-called deductive reasoning. In the movie, after the character was consoled by the class teacher Ms. Rain and the social worker Mrs. Weiss, the girl was able to recover and we are told that the life of girl changed because she realized that it was not the end. This means that the character started to reason hypothetically about her life.

The behavior of the character can also be explained by Erickson’s psychosocial theory. According to Erickson, the character was in the stage known as identity versus role confusion. The developer of this theory describes individuals at this stage as people who have ideas about weaknesses, strengths, commitment, goals, and also occupations without forgetting Gender roles (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). One can then justify the behavior of Precious at this stage because the girl was very quiet and yet committed to her work even though she was illiterate. At this stage, the individuals are also described as having fidelity, which is the ability to sustain loyalties after the solution to a certain misconception or problem was found. This then can justify the character’s behavior as the girl’s life turned around after the assistance of the class teacher and social worker. Thus, to achieve this, the individual must have had strong fidelity.

The theory also describes individuals as people who can make friends and accept their advice (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). Judging from the behavior of this girl, if she had not considered Ms. Rain and Mrs. Weiss as her friends, she would not listen to them and would not accept their help. The character’s behavior was to a great extent conditioned by the environment. This is because the change in the environment this girl made her life change all of a sudden. As the film states, the life of the girl when she was still in the Harlem city school was miserable, but when the girl transferred from the school, her life finally changed and became inspirational and full of hope.

The Social and Cultural Context of the Family of the Character and the Entire Environment

A family way of living may determine an individual’s behavior especially if there is deprivation of many aspects. The first one is the absence of parental love. As the script explains, there was no love in the life of the character. This is because no parent had shown concern for the girl and instead it was pure mistreatment. A lack of parental love can ruin the child’s life in that the child will lose their ego and self-esteem. The child can also conclude that he/she does not have any friends because, if even the parents do not care about him/her, then the outside world will not be concerned with the welfare of the child. The rest of the people in the environment of the main character could also affect the behavior of precious in that they showed ultimate dismissal of the girl.

This can be exemplified by the principal who expels the girl because of the pregnancy instead of listening to her and trying to understand her (Macionis & Plummer, 2008). If this becomes a reality in any community, the life of children cannot proceed well because they have a feeling of no acceptance. If this then coincides with the stage of identity versus inferiority development, as stipulated in the Erickson theory, the concerned person develops a permanent feeling of inferiority, which affects his/her life to a great extent. Many theories in sociology can explain the behavior and also the development of an individual. Some of these theories include:

Ecological Systems Theory

According to Urie Bronfenbrenner, one of the leading scholars in the field of developmental psychology, the ecological systems theory holds that development reflects the total influence of several environmental systems. In this theory, there is an identification of the five major systems within which an individual interacts. We have the Microsystem, which deals with the institutions and the groups that immediately and directly influence the development of the individual. These groups include the school, the family, the neighborhood, the religious systems, and the peers. In the case of Precious, all this has a great influence on her behavior since the school she attended, and the family and friends hurt her life.

The Mesosystem refers to the connections between the context and the Microsystems, for example, the connection between the family systems and the school. Thus, for example, if a kid is rejected by his/her parents, he/she can develop a negative attitude toward teachers. In our case, this contributed to behavioral change of Precious due to the rejection she faced from her parents. Other systems in this theory are the Ecosystem, the macrosystem, and the chronosystem. In general, the ecological theory is all about the immediate interactions of the child as it develops. Hence, from a sociological view, this is yet a very important theory in the development of the child. In the film Precious, this was a major theory to explain the reason why the girl described was very much affected in her development (Tischler, 2010). Since its invention, this theory has been used by many psychologists to explain the interactions between human beings and their environment. It stipulates that the environmental setup is the most common center of interaction with a given individual, and hence, the interaction should be regarded as one of the most important in the behavior of a given individual. The weakness of this theory is that it does not explain some instances whereby, for example, a kid can interact with natty kids for a long time but he/she remains disciplined and much focused.

Psychodynamics theory

Psychodynamics theory is a theory that is based on the suggestion that the psychology of a developing individual affects his/her behavior change. This theory is divided into various sections to enable us to understand clearly how psychodynamics affects the development of a child or any individual. The theory is divided into the following sections: topographic theory, structural theory, ego psychology, modern conflicts theory, and self-psychology, amongst others. This theory was first described by psychologist Freud in 1900. The theory explains that the mental apparatus can be divided into various sections, including the conscious, pre-conscious, and nonconscious sections. These are not anatomic constituents of the brain but rather mental processes (Giddens & Sutton, 2010). This though was replaced by the structural theory due to the weakness of quantifying the mental processes, which is still an important theory in explaining how the mind functions.

Hence, the effects of these processes on the brain dictate the behavior of a person. Citing the example from the film, the torture of the parents affected the mind and made the girl desperate, yet the care that the concerned members gave her was again able to restore the lost esteem of the girl. The other section of this theory is the structural theory, which replaced the Topographical theory. In this theory, the psyche or individual’s structure is divided into the id, ego, and super-ego. Id, which is unorganized and unconscious, operates on the principle of pleasure without any realism or foresight (Giddens & Sutton, 2010). The ego then develops gradually and mediates between the id and the external world. The ego uses the principle of reality. The superego is a part of the ego, and this is concerned with observation, self-criticism, judgment, and reflective aspects. Then, it is true that without our realization there could be a conflict between the three parts.

This happens when the mind is not in a normal state. In case of torture of the mind, the id, whose sole role is the issueing of pleasure, is disturbed and continually seeks this pleasure. On the other hand, the ego section stands on the reality of the current situation because it understands the situation (Newman, 2008). This then means that conflicts exist since the pleasure that the id wants to attain is not possible and, on the other side, the ego is very comfortable. The super-ego also raises criticism on why the current situation is happening abnormally. The results of all these are a restless state of mind and a psychological crisis. Hence, this could result in behavior change to a great extent. The modern conflict theory, which is the next section of psychodynamics, is termed the revised model of the structural theory. This theory looks at how emotional conflicts and character traits are complex in solving mental conflicts.

It explains the feeling of guilt, shame, emotions, and defensive operations that do not work in conjunction with the consciousness of others (Barrat, 2009). According to the psychologists Brenner and Arlow, this is a very important explanation of why individuals become ashamed when they carry out actions that are termed as wrong in society. This is related to the movie Precious because the suffering the girl experienced from her parents would make her feel shameful or even guilty. The sections include the object relations theory. The theories under Psychodynamics theory have the strength of building a picture of the mental state of a human being, but they have a weakness because whatever is discussed can not be quantified.

Learning theories

Learning theories are the theories that associate with the learning process of a developing individual (Barrat, 2009). They are divided into cognitive theory and psycho-social theory, among others. The cognitive theory was described by a person called Piaget, and he explained the different stages at which an individual is supposed to acquire various learning abilities. According to this theory, there are many stages of learning, and of them, the one which the described girl in the movie is the operational stage, which is characterized by the ability to raise the hypothetical and deductive reasoning of the person and also the ability to make logical decisions.

This is explained by the fact that this girl was advised and finally agreed to follow the advice. Among other stages is the concrete stage of the children who are between the ages of 7-12 years. There is also a sensor-motor stage. The other theory that is of importance in this section is the theory explained by Erickson, the psychosocial theory (Clement, 2010). This theory is given in terms of the stages. For example, we have the identity versus role confusion stage, which specifically applies to this girl. Other theories in these sections include the moral theory and the behavior theory. The importance of these theories lies in the fact that they assist one to understand children as they grow to give them the best as it pertains to their development. Hence, the identification of these theories by psychologists is yet a big stride in the field of psychology. The weakness of these theories is the problem of the keen monitoring of the kids, which is required to discover the operation of the theories. Due to this reason, alternative theories can be used as a substitute.

Alternative Theories

Other theories that can be used to explain the development of a human being are explained below. One of the most important theories in this category is the empowerment theory (Idling & Rydgren, 2010). As described by Ritzer in 1988, the theory connects the micro and macro levels’ needs. Community empowerment, which is a macro-level need, is simply a collective social process that helps in the creation of a community and the achievement of better control of the environment (Idling & Rydgren, 2010). This theory requires that each individual in the community be empowered. In case of a lack of empowerment, there is always a state of mental disturbance. Other theories in this section include the conflict theory. Conflict theories can be applied to solving sociological problems.

scroll to top call us
Chat with Support