January 16th, 2008
A line at a time, the following quote appears over a black
Every blade of grass has its Angel
that bends over it and whispers,
1 EXT HARLEM STREET DAY 1
A COLD WIND blows a bright red scarf tangled high on a street
An iron waste bin is blown sideways into an intersection. A
stray dog investigates it briefly, urinates and then moves on.
A book bag drops onto the pavement.
Visible from the waist down, a LARGE YOUNG WOMAN in a
disintegrating leather jacket turns the waste bin upright and
then maneuvers it onto the sidewalk.
Once finished, her thick hands wipe each other until they
Here, for the first time, we see her PLUMP, YOUTHFUL, VACANT
AFRICAN AMERICAN FACE. It is 16-YEAR-OLD PRECIOUS JONES.
Something inside the bin has caught her attention.
Precious gazes down upon a soiled and tattered paperback book
as the breath from her nostrils steams. The title of the book
staring back up at her is unintelligible.
She pushes debris aside to get to it.
The book plunges deeper into the trash, as if trying to flee.
The sound of an ONCOMING CAR approaches.
Precious pins the book against the bottom of the bin as the
sounds of the oncoming car close in.
Precious finally comes up with the book. Its title is still
unintelligible. When she flips it over, however, the letters
on the cover, which are facing us now, make sense. They read
CRYSTAL STAIR: SELECTED WORKS BY LANGSTON HUGHES.
1 CONTINUED: 1
The car sounds incredibly close.
Precious looks sharply to her left.
AN EERIE SKID precedes an eerier THUD! Precious, almost hit,
falls back on to the pavement as her book skips across the
intersection and down into a drain.
She lays on the sidewalk pressed against the base of the
street lamp with her eyes closed.
The car reverses, skids, stops for a sec, shifts and
The garbage bin, overturned yet again, rocks side to side
until settling, to a stop.
An ambulance eases up to the intersection.
When the stoplight changes, the ambulance motors past
Precious in no hurry. A moment later, its sirens BLARE and it
speeds off into the distance.
The stray dog returns, re-investigates the garbage bin, and
turns to Precious. He licks her face. Tom Cruise walks up to
Precious' still vacant eyes finally open to see Tom, and the
red scarf falling from the street lamp towards her. Tom gives
her a hand up.
What's your name girl?
What's your name?
Precious still blushing, looks on the ground.
FADE TO BLACK.
My name is Precious Jones. I wanna
take tap dance lessons. Mama said
we can't afford it.
A SCHOOL BELL RINGS.
R2 INT. INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 111/HALLWAY - DAY R2
The end of a final wave of students head to class.
Plus she say who wanna see me
dancing anyway. I goes to I.S. 111.
In Harlem. New York. Today I was
almost late. That'd a been a
Precious scurries behind them donning the red scarf and
lugging her book bag.
3 INT. CLASSROOM DAY 3
Precious sits in the last row behind 26 children half her
size, 3 years younger and mostly African American. Noise and
projectiles fill the air.
MR. WICHER -A FRAIL MAN IN A BOW TIE AND TWEED COAT, stands
at the head of the class trying to establish order.
Class, would you please turn to
page 122 ...Class! 122!
Precious' book stays closed as the other students find the
TWO BOYS in front of Precious giggle boisterously at some
Mr. Wicher looks annoyed but accustomed to this.
I like maff but I don't say nuffin'
-don't open my book even. Just sit
The giggling boys continue their shenanigans.
The boys finally open their books.
Page 122 please.
Everyday I tell myself something
gonna happen, like I'm gonna break
through or somebody gonna break
through to me -I'm gonna learn,
catch up, be normal, sit in the
The giggling flares up again. Precious sneers at the boys.
Today we are going to review
Monday's assignment. Would anyone
like to begin?
The boys get louder.
3 CONTINUED: 3
Mr. Wicher looks at them helplessly.
Boys! ! !
I like Mr. Wicher. I pretend he my
husband and we live in Weschesser,
whereever that is. I can see by his
eyes Mr. Wicher like me too. I wish
I could tell him all the pages in
my book look the same to me, but I
The entire class cries, "OOOOOH". Mr. Wicher looks scared.
BOY # 1
Nobody 'spect us to learn nuffin no
way. Now I'm tryin' to have a
motherfuckin' conversation back
here if you don't mind Mr. Bitcher,
I mean, Mr. Wicher.
The boys fallout slapping hands.
The class turns to Mr. Wicher in unison to see what he will
I want to see you boys after class.
Sorry Mr. Wicher but you ain't my
type. Grow some tits.
Just be quiet.
Mr. Wicher tries to carry on throughout the boys' unrelenting
defiance. Other students are continually distracted by the
boys. Precious looks bothered the most as Mr. Wicher's soft
voice loses the battle.
I feels sorry for Mr. Wicher. He do
his best but he ain't got no voice.
He scared too. I feels sorry for
The boys break out in RIOTOUS LAUGHTER until ...
3 CONTINUED: (2) 3
CRASH! A desk slams against the floor. The boys whirl around
to see two large hands take hold of them and snatch them out
of their chairs.
Precious has had enough.
Shut up motherfuckers, I'm trying
to learn something! Hard enuff
wiffout you stupid clowns carryin'
Precious shoves them down in their seats and huffs.
Stupid asses... Go on 'bout cha
lesson Mr. Wicher. They ain' gonna
give you no more trouble today.
Precious turns her desk upright and sits back down. Mr.
Wicher looks grateful.
I'm like the polices for Mr.
Wicher. Tha's why I can't be late
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Someone is outside the classroom.
Mr. Wicher waves her inside.
MRS. LICHENSTEIN, A SKINNY WOMAN IN HER THIRTIES WEARING A
DARK SKIRT SUIT enters, squints to find Precious, points
briefly and then whispers something to Mr. Wicher. Precious
rolls her eyes.
Now dis ...
Mrs. Lichenstein sends Precious an oversized grin and beckons
3 CONTINUED: (3) 3
What this bitch want? Claireece ...
Only motherfuckers I hate call me
Precious gathers her belongings. The other children watch
every move in silence. When she reaches the front of the
You gonna be okay Mr. Wicher?
(forcing a smile)
Of course Precious. Thank you.
An unconvinced Precious grins sadly as Mrs. Lichenstein
motions for Precious to step out ahead of her.
Mr. Wicher looks abandoned. The door closing behind Precious
might as well be to a prison cell block. Noise inside the
classroom returns immediately.
R4 INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR - DAY R4
Precious heads off down the wide hallway in silence.
R5 INT. MRS. LICHENSTEIN'S OFFICE DAY R5
Precious waits among plants, plaques, pictures and file
cabinets while Mrs. Lichenstein sits across from her reading
from a file.
Mrs. Lichenstein closes the file and sets it on the desk
Are you pregnant? You're sixteen,
still in junior high school and
pregnant with your second child.
Correct Claireece? Claireece are
you pregnant again?
Precious stares at the file without responding.
Do you have any thoughts about your
Precious shrugs her shoulders.
R5 CONTINUED: R5
Precious doesn't respond.
Claireece, I'm talking to you.
Precious doesn't respond.
Am I in trouble?
Am I in trouble?
Then I don't want to miss no more
of maff class.
Precious starts to rise.
Sit down Claireece.
Precious sits and sighs.
You know what I think? I think we
should have a parent-teacher
conference - me, you and your mom.
My muver is busy.
Well maybe I could arrange to come
to your house.
R5 CONTINUED: (2) R5
My muver wouldn't like that.
Well then Claireece, I'm afraid I'm
going to have to suspend you.
That ain't fair. I ain' done
nuffin! I doose my work. I ain' in
no trouble. My grades is good...
Your attitude is one of total
uncooperation and that won't help a
PRECIOUS (V.O.) MRS. LICHENSTEIN
Now I heard everything. Nosy I'm not the enemy here. If
ass white bitch mad 'cause h
there's something going on at
she can't come over my house. ome that you would like to
I don't be coming to this talk about, you should feel
bitch's house in Weschesser. free to do so here. If you
I'll be damned. I done heard find that the added stress of
everything. White bitch wanna caring for your child is
visit. Then I thought about affecting your concentration,
Mr. Wicher all alone up that would be helpful to
against the fools in his maff know.
Now according to our records, your
mother also looks after the child.
Is that correct?
No kids on her pictures. Maybe she
jealous. I still don't say nuffin.
Are you in contact with the father?
Is he at all involved in your
R5 CONTINUED: (3) R5
Fine! If that's the way you wanna
play it, we can do this all day.
The hand on Precious' lap makes a fist.
Thas when I knew I'd never get back
to maff class ...Lawd I hate this
Precious lunges from her chair and reaches over the desk.
Mrs. Lichenstein vaults backwards in terror and tumbles to
R6 INT. MRS. LICHENSTEIN'S OUTER OFFICE AREA - DAY R6
Precious bursts out of Mrs. Lichenstein's office and walks to
the exit. Mrs. Lichenstein's distant voice still cries for
R7 INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR - DAY R7
Precious heads down the hall without looking back. Mrs.
Lichenstein's CRIES are still audible.
8 INT. PRECIOUS' APT 444 LENOX AVE. - DAY 8
A faucet runs.
Precious stands over the sink washing dishes. A moment later,
a WOMAN'S VOICE speaks over the sound of a TELEVISION.
You get my cigarettes?
Precious freezes. Her HEART BEATS loudly.
No Mama, I dropped some of my
thangs on the way to school.
A SCREECHING CAR echoes distantly.
MARY - INCREDIBLY LARGE, OILY SKIN, ILL-FITTED WIG AND HOUSE
DRESS sits on the couch with her back turned to Precious.
This woman looks as if she is one with the furniture.
8 CONTINUED: 8
A cigarette smolders between her fingers as she watches "THE
PRICE IS RIGHT" on television.
Precious, still waiting for the other shoe to drop, looks
momentarily relieved and returns to the dishes until ...
A thick glass ashtray smashes into Precious' head.
Precious falls and lands ...
9 INT. PRECIOUS' BEDROOM NIGHT 9
...onto a bed completely naked.
CARL KENWOOD JONES, A LARGE AND NAKED MAN MUCH MORE THAN
TWICE HER AGE falls on top of her and gyrates.
An enormous hand muzzles her.
Precious lays there impassively as her vacant eyes fixate on
a long crack in the ceiling.
As we drift towards the crack it seems to widen -to open into
another world where...
10 EXT. RED CARPET - NIGHT 10
Blinding flashbulbs pop everywhere.
Precious walks the red carpet with Tom Cruise. They head
toward the entrance of the theatre stopping occasionally to
sign autographs. Both sport matching sunglasses. The
paparazzi is going wild.
THUNDER RUMBLES. Precious removes her sunglasses and searches
A LIGHTENING CRACK ROARS. Rain starts to fall as ...
11 INT. PRECIOUS' BEDROOM -NIGHT 11
Drops of water seep from the crack in the ceiling accompanied
by the sound of distant THUNDER and MASCULINE GRUNTS morphing
(at the top of her lungs)
I SAID I'M HONGRY YOU FAT LITTLE
PIGGY CUNT BITCH!!! Git your
Jezebel ass up and git to dinner
'fore I give you something to cry
12 INT. KITCHEN 444 LENOX AVE. - DUSK 12
Eyes closed with ashes and tears on her face, Precious lays
still on the floor. Her hands are still wet from the dishes.
GOOOSH! 2 gallons of water splash down on her. Her eyes
Mary stands over Precious with a large dripping pot in her
hands. She drops it on the floor and returns to the couch to
watch another program.
...I ain' gon' say it again.
13 INT. KITCHEN - LATER 13
Pots and pans sizzle on the stove.
Precious, now wearing a dry T-shirt, tends to dinner
meticulously until ...
ANNNNT! The sharp sound of a BUZZER rings.
Mary and Precious turn to the door in unison.
Tell them assholes to stop ringing
Here is our first good look at Mary. She wares way too much
Precious wipes her hands and heads for the door though Mary
sits much closer to it.
13 CONTINUED: 13
No one ever ring the bell but crack
addicts. I hates crack addicts.
Give the ghetto a bad name.
Precious presses TALK on the intercom.
Stop ringing the goddam buzzer
Precious heads back to the dishes until ...
ANNNT! The buzzer again.
Precious returns to the intercom.
Stop ringing the goddam buzzer.
Press LISTEN stupid.
Precious sighs and presses LISTEN.
FEMALE VOICE (O.S.)
It's Sondra Lichenstein for
Claireece and Ms. Mary Johnston.
Precious' face goes blank. Mary looks alarmed and mutes the
Who that Precious?
White bitch from school.
14 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 14
Mrs. Lichenstein stands by the buzzer bundled up. THUMPING
RAP MUSIC FROM A CAR passes behind her.
14 CONTINUED: 14
She bounces lightly to the beat.
Lord, where is crack addicts when
you need 'em...
15 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 15
Precious and Mary still try to sort this out.
What she want?
I don't know.
Ask her stupid.
Precious presses TALK.
What you want?
Precious presses LISTEN.
MRS. LICHENSTEIN (O.S.)
I want to talk to you about your
Eighty-six that bitch.
Precious looks unsure.
16 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 16
A young man exits the building smoking a cigarette. Mrs.
Lichenstein puts her hands together, dramatically pleads for
a smoke and gets one.
She puts it in her mouth and lights hers to his. Bouncing to
stay warm, she nods in gratitude as the man walks off.
This bitch crazy. 'Sides, my muver
don't want to get cut off welfare
and that's what Mrs. Lichenstein
comin' to visit result in. It's
hard to believe a hoe dis retarded
sposed to educate somebody.
17 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 17
Precious presses TALK.
Git outa here Mrs. Lichenstein
'fore I kick your ass.
Precious presses LISTEN.
MRS. LICHENSTEIN (O.S.)
Claireece I am so sorry about
today. I only want to help you. I
...Mr. Wicher says you're one of
his best students and that you have
an aptitude for math -or at least
I've called a Mrs. McKnight at
Higher Education Alternative / Each
One Teach One. It's an alternative
Claireece, are you listening?
Precious looks at her mother. Mary clearly finds this all
MRS. LICHENSTEIN (O.S.)
Claireece, did you hear me?
Precious presses TALK.
Precious presses LISTEN.
MRS. LICHENSTEIN (O.S.)
I've called Ms. McKnight at Each
One Teach One. It's located on the
nineteenth floor of the Hotel
Theresa on 125th Street. That's not
too far from here.
Precious presses TALK.
I know where that is.
Precious releases the button.
17 CONTINUED: 17
Precious presses LISTEN.
MRS. LICHENSTEIN (O.S.)
The phone number is 555-0831. I
told them about you. Call or drop
in, nineteenth floor.
I heard you the first time.
Listen Claireece... If you go down
tomorrow.... Look, they have just
started their semester. You may be
a day or 2 late... Give it a try.
18 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 18
Mrs. Lichenstein bounds off into the night with her
I don't know what an alternative
school is but I feel I want to
19 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. -NIGHT 19
Precious leans against the refrigerator glowing.
My heart is all warm...Mr. Wicher
say I'm a good student.
There is silent movement behind Precious.
Mary approaches quietly wielding a skillet.
Mary swings for a head shot but Precious easily sidesteps the
The refrigerator takes the hit and a new dent.
Precious stares calmly at her mother.
Mary almost looks ashamed.
Still aglow, Precious grins absently at her mother and then
leaves the kitchen.
19 CONTINUED: 19
Mary watches her go and then struts back to the television
speaking to herself.
School can't help none. Go down
welfare. Who she think she is?
19 CONTINUED: (2) 19
Think she cute now right? Shoulda
kept her mouf shut. Uppity now
cause he give her more childrens
than he did me. Should've kept her
damn mouf shut. Stupid little pig.
Who she think she is? What I'm
sposed to do for cig'rettes now?
20 INT. PRECIOUS' BEDROOM - NIGHT 20
Precious, now dressed for bed and still beaming, pulls the
covers to her chest.
21 EXT. HARLEM CITYSCAPE - DAWN 21
The sun rises into the sky. The shadow of a tree draws
shorter as does that of an open gate.
22 PRECIOUS' BEDROOM - DAY 22
The clock on the night stand reads 8:29.
We drift back to find Precious sitting on the side of her bed
fully dressed with neon yellow leggings and her red scarf as
she stares at the clock.
Various sheets of colored construction paper display
Precious' handprints on the wall. Their sizes increase
progressively and end beside a poster of Cyndi Lauper.
When the clock reads 8:30, Precious stands, looks in a
mirror, sees a pretty blond white girl and leaves the room.
23 INT. PRECIOUS' APT DAY 23
Precious heads for the front door.
Where you going?
DUNK, CLINK, CLONK, CLANK -Precious opens 4 locks with swift
You hear me talking to you?!
Precious leaves slamming the door behind her.
24 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. -DAY 24
We track with Precious as she exits her building. RUBY, A
DARK-SKINNED HEAVY-SET LITTLE GIRL WITH A "NATURAL" HAIRSTYLE
WHO COULD EASILY PASS FOR A YOUNGER PRECIOUS, trails
Precious. A naked blond armless Barbie doll dangles by it's
hair from Ruby's hand.
Precious when we gon' play?
(without turning around)
Ain' you s'posed to be in school?
You said we was gon' play.
See, thas jus exackly why we ain'
gon' be playin'. I never said
nuffin like it.
Cause you a mess. Look at ya' -no
style, no friends, no mama, no
So?! I ain' the only one.
Precious stops abruptly and turns around.
What you say?!
Thas what I thought.
Precious heads away into the distance.
I check in wif you tomorrow
You do that.
25 EXT. STREET - DAY 25
Precious walks gazing upward.
Street lamps pass beneath the sky as autumn leaves fall from
I'm lookin' up. Lookin' out for a
piano to fall, a desk, couch, TV,
Mama maybe? Always somethin' in the
way. Alternative. I'm gon' see all
Watch where you goin' Orca!
Precious looks down to find three skinny boys, each much
smaller than she, taunting her.
Then my mind come back down to
Shut up fool, she gon' eat you.
The boys burst out in laughter slapping hands and grabbing
Boyz always been little things that
laff and grab they selves -cept
for when I's real big and pregnant
wif my first baby. Then boyz don't
say nuffin. They stand out the way
real quiet like I'm Queen of
Pointing at her leggings, the boys erupt some more.
Still, I wonder...what could I wear
that boyz don't laff?
Precious crashes to the ground. The boys look surprised a
moment and then howl harder than ever.
I always be fallin like that when
my mind be wanderin. Mama say I
gonna fall to my death one day.
Wonder what that be like?
25 CONTINUED: 25
The boys continue to taunt her from above. Precious stares
into space as if they aren't there.
26 INT. DANCE STUDIO - DAY 26
Precious in Black leotards, fishnet stockings and patent
leather shoes tap dancing away. She finishes her number as
Tom Cruise walks into frame clapping. Tom gives her a hug and
a friendly lick on the ear.
27 EXT. STREET - PRESENT - DAY 27
Precious continues to stare into space as a dog licks on her
28 EXT. 125TH STREET - DAY 28
Precious walks amongst a crowd of people and stops to stare
at the Hotel Theresa, a beautiful pre-war building.
29 INT. HOTEL THERESA - DAY 29
Precious enters the lobby. An older black man in a blue
uniform sits in a chair reading the Daily News through thick
He doesn't move, react, speak to or look at Precious as she
Precious glances back at him as she reaches the elevators,
presses the button and waits.
The elevator doors open. Precious steps inside and turns
around. Her eyes widen and time slows down. The sound of WIND
Moments later, Precious snaps out of her daze and hastily
pushes button 19.
The doors close.
30 INT. ELEVATOR - DAY 30
The elevator doors fly open.
31 INT. HOTEL THERESA 19TH FLOOR - DAY 31
Precious steps out to find an AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN IN HER
EARLY 30'S WEARING HER HAIR IN "CORNROWS".
She sits behind a desk while speaking on the phone.
Why do you say that shit when you
don't mean it Trey? I'm not playing
with you and I know that wasn't
your damn sister neither....because
you don't have one...Fine. Yeah,
Cornrows slams the phone down, mumbles and looks over a file.
This the alternative?
This the alternative?
What exactly are you looking for?
Well what is this here?
This is Higher Education
Alternative / Each One Teach One.
I'm looking for alternative school.
This is an alternative school.
What alternative is?
What are you asking me?
31 CONTINUED: 31
Alternative. The lady from my other
school tell me to come here to
Hotel Theresa, nineteenth floor,
it's "alternative" school.
Each One Teach One is an
alternative school and an
alternative school is like a
choice, a different way to do
You need your discharge papers from
your old school saying they have
formally discharged you or we can't
allow you in the program.
I got kicked out 'cause I was
You still need formal discharge
papers or we can't let you in. It's
Mrs. Lichenstein ain' say all that.
Oh you're the one Mrs. Lichenstein
What she say?
Are you Claireece P. Jones?
Well the principal at I.S. 111
already sent your discharge papers
and stuff over.
31 CONTINUED: (2) 31
Your academic record.
Suddenly, Precious looks very concerned.
Are you all right?
Precious looks both angry and disappointed.
I thought this was new start. File
and tesses chase me to the grave.
We had to have certain information
before we could accept you into the
program. So really, their sending
your records over was just a way of
speeding things up for you.
Can I start today?
Yup. The only other thing we need
right now is income verification.
Are you currently receiving AFDC?
No...My muver get AFDC for me and
Oh, you've had amniocentesis?
You said your mother has custody of
you and your daughter?
31 CONTINUED: (3) 31
Not this baby! I got another one
'sides this coming.
Oh I see. Your mother has custody
of you and your daughter so you're
on her budget.
Okay, well I need a copy of your
mother's budget and a current phone
or utilities bill, okay?
I got to go get all that now?
No, relax. We're just gonna give you
a few tests -test your reading and
math level, see where to place you.
What's the difference?
Well, to enter G.E.D. classes a
student should be able to read on
an eighth-grade level. They should
score 8.0 or better on the TABE
I was in ninfe grade at I.S. Ill.
Then you should have no problem.
Precious doesn't look as convinced.
32 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 32
ECU - SHEET OF PAPER
Precious neatly writes CLAIREECE P. JONES on the top of the
32 CONTINUED: 32
Precious sits alone behind a smattering of empty desks in a
She looks over her test, exhales and starts to write.
33 INT. CLASSROOM - LATER 33
A TICKING CLOCK accompanies ...
Precious looks up sharply.
A square fluorescent light in the ceiling blinks and buzzes
as if struggling to stay alive.
We tilt down from the blinking light to find that we are in a
different place ...
34 INT. DIFFERENT CLASSROOM - DAY 34
A YOUNGER PRECIOUS with uncombed hair sits with her back to
us in a bright pink dress. She is at the very back of the
34 CONTINUED: 34
The many children seated in front of her are all blurs that
gradually fade into darkness while raising their hands.
As we drift towards young Precious, the stains on her dress
become more apparent.
As we continue drifting, the PLAYGROUND VOICES OF OTHER YOUNG
CHILDREN ECHO out...
GIRL # 1 (O.S.)
...What that on your dress
GIRL # 2 (O.S.)
She don't say nuffin'. She don't
talk to nobody.
GIRL # 1 (O.S.)
GIRL # 3 (O.S.)
When the last time yo head was
Precious mumbles something to herself.
GIRL # 4 (O.S.)
...What?! Shut up Precious. You
talk funny. You was better when you
was on mute.
Here come the wide load...
Boys makes a lengthy FARTING sound triggering a CHORUS OF
Our drift finally lands on a puddle of urine at her feet.
GIRL # 5 (O.S.)
Teacher! Teacher! Precious
peeded herself again!
GIGGLES fill the air. A small pencil falls into the puddle
making a large ripple.
INT. CLASSROOM - DAY - PRESENT
Precious' pencil point has broken but she still holds the
pencil as if about to write.
Precious sits with an absent look on her face and a bead of
sweat on her temple. A moment later, a shadow moves over her
Claireece, do you need another
The administrator stands over Precious waiting for an answer.
Precious looks up to her blankly.
Are you finished?
Precious nods absently.
The administrator gently takes the test from Precious' desk
Precious lingers pensively in the back of the room.
There has always been something
wrong wif the tesses ...
36 EXT. STREET - DAY 36
Precious walks with her hands in her pockets watching the
pavement pass beneath her.
PRECIOUS (V.O. CONT.)
...The tesses paint a picture of me
wif no brain. The tesses paint a
picture of me 'an my muver -my
whole family as less than dumb just
ugly black grease to be wiped away,
punished, caged up, kilt, changed,
finded a job for.
Precious leaves us behind.
Sometimes I wish I was not alive. I
be O.K. I guess.
37 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. APT, BATHROOM - DAY 37
...A hand shuts off a shower .
...A toothbrush lands in a mug .
38 INT. PRECIOUS' BEDROOM - DAY 38
...A hairbrush lands on a dresser.
...Thick hands remove a red scarf from a drawer.
...The clock on the night stand reads 8:29.
Precious sits on the side of her bed fully dressed with red
leggings and her red scarf staring at the clock with a
notebook in her hands.
Today is first day. I been tessed.
I been incomed eligible. I got my
medicaid card, proof of address,
self, pencil, notebook -alla dat
When the clock reads 8:30, she stands, turns to a mirror,
sees a pretty blond white girl and leaves the room.
39 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. KITCHEN - DAY 39
...Precious stares into the refrigerator.
...Precious stares into the freezer.
Finally, she closes the door.
MARY (0. S. )
I need some money.
MARY (0. S. )
39 CONTINUED: 39
Sumthin' to eat. My head hurt.
MARY (0. S. )
How much you need?
Come and git it then.
The air changes. Time stands still.
A look that is both childlike and gray comes over Precious'
40 INT. MARY'S BEDROOM - DAY 40
Large panties fall to the floor from beneath the sheets.
Mary's knees widen beneath the covers.
41 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. KITCHEN - DAY 41
A frozen Precious stares across the apartment for a brief
Finally, she dashes for the front door, throws open the locks
and bolts out of the apartment slamming the door behind her.
Where you going?!
42 EXT. STREET - DAY 42
Precious walks briskly.
The other day I cried, felt stupid.
Guess what...Fuck that other day.
Thas why God or whoever make new
days. Still hungry tho.
Precious stops and looks up at something.
Before her stands a fast food restaurant with a giant sign
atop it that says KICKIN FRIED CHICKEN.
Precious looks around, takes a deep breath and steps inside.
43 INT. KICKIN FRIED CHICKEN - DAY 43
Precious approaches the counter with a strained
A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN IN A HAIR-NET waits behind the register.
Precious sets her notebook and pencil down on the nearest
What you want baby?
Give me a basket please.
Precious' eyes wander from the fry bin all the way over to a
refrigerator towards the back.
Ain't sure. still thinkin'.
Watchin' the weight you know.
The woman chuckles and then leaves for the chicken.
The digital clock on the wall reads 8:53.
Precious whirls around to see A YOUNG MAN CIGARETTE IN HIS
MOUTH spraying the door with glass cleaner and then wiping it
from the bottom up.
Precious turns back around to find her server selecting
pieces of chicken from a huge tray with large silver tongs.
The clock on the wall reads 8:54.
Precious turns to the door again to find the young man still
Precious turns back around to see her server returning with a
basket of chicken.
Potato salad! Thas it.
The woman nods, sets the chicken on the counter and heads
back towards the refrigerator in one fluid motion.
43 CONTINUED: 43
The young man wipes the top of the front door and looks to be
44 EXT. KICKIN FRIED CHICKEN - DAY 44
Precious bursts out of the restaurant with the bucket under
one arm and sprints off down the block.
A SCREAM from inside follows.
REGGIE!!! GET HER!!!
A second later, Reggie, the young man who cleaned the glass,
dashes out after Precious.
Precious looks back while sprinting and scarfing down pieces
of chicken at a remarkable rate.
Across the street, SHEILA, Reggie's pregnant girlfriend,
screams at him.
Reggie, where you been? I've been
paging your tired ass all night.
Reggie stops dead in his tracks. Shit! Busted. He lights up a
cigarette, about faces and prepares for her rant.
Nigga, I knew that was you. And who
you running after, some fat bitch.
Get your ass over here.
Precious turns the corner of 126th street and onto Clayton
Powell Jr. Boulevard still devouring chicken.
A SKINNY DISHEVELED MAN sitting on a standpipe calls out to
You gon catch indigestion Mommie.
45 EXT. HOTEL THERESA - DAY 45
Precious finishes off the chicken at the exact moment she
reaches the Hotel, stuffs the bones and basket into a trash
bin and dashes into the building.
46 INT. HOTEL THERESA ELEVATOR 46
Precious looks at her watch and then freezes as if something
terrible has just dawned on her.
47 INT. KICKIN FRIED CHICKEN - DAY 47
Precious' notebook and pencil sit on the table where she left
48 INT. HOTEL THERESA ELEVATOR 48
Precious looks crestfallen. A glance at her watch makes it
48 CONTINUED: 48
Her stomach GROWLS. She suddenly looks unwell.
49 INT. HOTEL THERESA 19TH FLOOR - DAY 49
The elevator doors open. Cornrows speaks on the phone while
picking her nails. Several lines are ringing. She waves from
behind her desk as Precious walks by.
(on the phone)
...What else would get away with
clouding your mind, messin your
heart and leaving the goddamn
toilet seat up? Wait a minute
She decides to grab a line.
Each One Teach one, hold please.
She pushes another line.
Each One Teach One, hold.
She goes back to her conversation.
Yeah, I'm back.
A49 INT. HOTEL THERESA HALLWAY - DAY A49
Precious, nauseous, makes her way down the hallway.
B49 INT. HOTEL THERESA HALLWAY OUTSIDE MS. RAINS ROOM - DAY B49
Precious lunges for a trash bin into which she promptly
She quickly catches her breath. Wipes her mouth and looks 10
feet away at a brightness coming from an open doorway. Her
HEART BEATS loudly.
Precious stands up. She seems to be there for a considerable
A blur of a young girl darts into the room from the other end
of the hall without looking at her.
B49 CONTINUED: B49
MS. RAIN, PETITE, AFRICAN AMERICAN, BEAUTIFUL, THIRTIES,
ALERT EYES enters the hallway looking at her watch and then
up to Precious.
Precious doesn't respond.
Are you in the A.B.E. class?
This is it.
Ms. Rain looks at her watch, beckons Precious with one arm
and disappears inside.
MS. RAIN (O.S)
Time's a wastin'.
B49 CONTINUED: (2) B49
Precious still doesn't move.
Ms. Rain appears again.
You in or you out? This door closes
in thirty seconds.
Ms. Rain disappears again.
Precious' feet finally transport her into the bright doorway.
Its blinding light envelopes her completely.
50 INT. CLASSROOM -DAY 50
Ms. Rain's desk sits before six smaller ones situated in a
semi-circle. Four of them are occupied by girls roughly
RHONDA JOHNSON -AFRICAN AMERICAN, STOCKY AND EVEN TALLER THAN
PRECIOUS, RITA ROMERO -LATIN DESCENT, MEDIUM BUILD, FRIENDLY
FACE AND DRESSED ENTIRELY IN BLACK, JERMAINE HICKS WIRY,
LEAN, SEATED AND DRESSED LIKE A BOY and CONSUELO MONTENEGRO -
LATIN DESCENT, PETITE GLOWING AND GORGEOUS. She twirls her
hair incessantly with slender painted fingertips.
A seventh desk sits well apart from the others back beneath
The girls all stare up at Precious blankly as she enters the
room. Precious looks to be in a mild state of shock as she
gazes around from the girls to Ms. Rain to the clouds outside
First thing I wonder is where is
everybody -the boyz, the noises
...this feel like a Sunday school
or crazy house...or something like
bof' but different. Smell different
Precious' eyes land on the lone desk in the rear of the room.
MS. RAIN (O.S.)
Have a seat.
Precious looks from the distant desk to one up front and then
back to the distant desk.
She sits with the other girls delicately, as if she were a
visitor in a complete stranger's home.
50 CONTINUED: 50
Ms. Rain finishes marking the roll sheet, places the cap on
her pen and holds up a notebook identical to the one Precious
left at the Kickin Fried Chicken.
Does everyone have her notebook?
Precious sucks her teeth in self-disgust as she looks around
to find that all the other girls have theirs.
JO ANN ROGERS -CAREFREE, CUTE AND SMUG, then breezes into the
room with an air of insubordination.
It's 9:07. Jo Ann you're late.
Jo Ann points into her mouth, which is full.
I had to. Most important meal of
Starting tomorrow, this door will
be locked at 9:00.
Jo Ann rolls her eyes and sits beside Precious.
Class, today we have some new
people so let's just...
Ooh! Hold up! wait up! Hold up! I
I beg your pardon Jo Ann!
2000 'pologies Miz Rain but I jus'
want to say, do anyone need an
extra notebook I foun' in the
Okay hoe. I found your Cadillac
too. It's parked out front.
50 CONTINUED: (2) 50
Jo Ann rolls her eyes.
I leff it! I did! I leff it at the
Kickin Fried Chicken on Lenox tween
one-two-seven and one-two-six this
...Alright girl, I was just fuckin'
Jo Ann returns the notebook to Precious.
Mind your mouth in here Jo Ann.
What I say?!
Just watch the language.
Jo Ann shrugs her shoulders, looks down and then turns her
eyes to Precious' stomach.
When you due?
Precious looks down and shrugs her shoulders.
Since we have more new people than
old people today, let's just go
back to square one and get to know
each other. State your name, where
you were born, your favorite color,
something you do well and why
Ms. Rain points to the blackboard where each of the 5
questions are written neatly to the side.
I'll start. My name is Blu Rain ...
50 CONTINUED: (3) 50
Thas your real name?
That's my for real, hope to die if
I'm lying name.
Your first name Blue?
Yes it is. My favorite color is
Off da bat sumthin' different
wif dis lady. She like to sing. I
wish I could sing. Go to church.
Sing on a choir. Mama say ain't no
God. Dis lady remind me Mr. Wicher
but more a man and like Miss
Lichenstein 'cept not a cuckoo.
Dress like she ride in out the
...What do I do well? I sing pretty
well. And I'm here because a good
friend used to teach at this
school. She was out one day and
asked me to substitute for her.
When she quit, they asked me if I
wanted the job. I said yes and I've
been here ever since. Rhonda?
My name Rhonda Patrice Johnson. I
was born in Kingston Jamaica ...
Precious looks her over.
PRECIOUS (V.O.) RHONDA
Big redbone girl big like me My favorite color is blue.
but don't talk funny like how I cook good. My mother usta
coconut head peoples do. have a restaurant on Seventh
Ave. Before she got sick, she
taught me everything. I'm
here to bring up my reading
so I could get my G.E.D.
Rhonda turns to Rita who sits beside her.
50 CONTINUED: (4) 50
My name is Rita Romero. I was born
right here in Harlem. I'm here
because I was an addict and dropped
out of school ...
PRECIOUS (V.O.) RITA
Skinny Spanish girl seem a ...and never got my reading
little sad but maybe jus and writing together. My
quiet. Could be bofe. I check favorite color is black but I
into it. guess you could tell that.
What do you do good?
Well. What do you do well Jo Ann?
Jo Ann points to herself as if to say, "Me?!" and Ms. Rain
shakes her head and points to Rita.
I'm a good mother, a very good
Jermaine is next in line.
My name is Jermaine. My favorite
Tell us where you born first.
I was born in the Bronx, still live
PRECIOUS (V.O.) JERMAINE
What the hell is going on in
h ...Red is my favorite color.
kere? Is she a man? What Usta be blue. I'm a good
kinda school is this? I don't dancer if I do say so. A
now here. Jermaine, which I friend told me about Each One
don't have to tell you, is a / Teach One. I came here to
boy's name. get away from bad influence.
You come to Harlem to get away from
50 CONTINUED: (5) 50
I'm afraid so.
Can I go Miz Rain?
When it's your turn Jo Ann.
(still twirling her hair)
Favorite color? Why I'm here?
What's alla dat shit?
It's just a way of breaking the ice
-a way of getting to know each
PRECIOUS (V.O.) MS. RAIN
Ooohhh, dis pretty Spanish ...by asking nonthreatening
girl, coffee cream color wit questions that allow you to
long ol' good hair. She look share yourself with the group
nice but got some attitude. without having to reveal more
Ain' like she tha first tho. of yourself than might be
...You don't have to do it if you
don't want to but you do have to
watch your language.
I don't want to.
You don't want to do what,
participate or watch your language?
The first part.
Precious is next.
Precious doesn't respond.
50 CONTINUED: (6) 50
Could I skip too Miz Rain?
Certainly. Jo Ann?
Precious exhales looking astoundingly grateful and then turns
to Jo Ann.
I'm Jo Ann.
Hi! My favorite color is
fluorescent beige. My ambition is
to have my own record layer.
Ms. Rain and the class look confused.
Where were you born and why are you
at this school?
PRECIOUS (V.O.) JO ANN
Jo Ann like the spotlight and I was born in King's County
can't sit still. Teacher Hospital. My mother moved us
don't need no outside to Harlem when I was nine
policin' tho. She ain' years old. I'm here to get my
'fraid. I wonder what is a G.E.D., then, well I'm
record layer anyway. already into the music
industry. I just need to take
care of the education thing
so I can move up.
Well, that's everyone. Welcome
I could...Could I...go?
Surprised, Ms. Rain and the class turn to Precious. She is
visibly uncomfortable and seems as if trying to hide in plain
The air is sucked out of the room.
50 CONTINUED: (7) 50
Everybody looking at me now.
Everybody see me. I wish for back
of class again...
The distant desk vanishes over Precious' shoulder.
PRECIOUS (V.O. CONT'D)
...then I think, never that again.
My name Claireece Precious Jones. I
go by Precious. I was born in
Harlem. I like yellow 'n I had a
problem at my old school so I come
Something you do well?
Precious thinks for a moment and then shrugs.
Everybody is good at something.
Precious shakes her head.
I can cook and...
The room waits.
The room continues to wait.
50 CONTINUED: (8) 50
Well ...I never talked in class
before. I guess now I could do that
How does it make you feel?
Precious looks around but seems to be searching inside more
than anywhere else.
After a moment...
...Here. It make me feel ...here.
The class is quietly taken aback.
Precious smiles as if having just made it ashore from a ship
lost at sea.
51 EXT. HARLEM STREET - DAY 51
Precious walks off alone still beaming from the new world she
has discovered. P
Before, I got A minus in English
and never say nuffin', never do
nuffin'. But Miz Rain say we gonna
read and write in our notebooks
every day. Thas sumthin' seeing how
we can't really do none of those
things and then I think maybe this
ain' tha class for me. But when Miz
Rain see the worry on my face, she
look at me and start to talk in
The ghostly image of Ms. Rain appears on the sidewalk ahead
of Precious. It is a glimpse from back in the classroom. Her
51 CONTINUED: 51
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
The longest journey begins with
a single step...
Ms. Rain vanishes and Precious shakes her head.
...Whatever the fuck that spozed to
mean. This school different, okay.
But this not Star Trek neitha'.
Precious continues into the distance.
Complicated, complicated -Chinese
journeys, 2 books, write 'n you
don't know how? Dawg ...
52 INT. CLASSROOM - ANOTHER DAY 52
Ms. Rain writes the letter A on the board and then hands the
chalk to Jermaine. Jermaine writes B and then hands it to
Consuelo. Consuelo writes C and hands it to Rhonda. Rhonda
writes D and hands it to Rita.
Rita takes a step and starts to cry. She drops the chalk. It
shatters on the floor.
We're all in this together Rita.
ALL BUT RITA
Rita picks up the largest shard of chalk from the floor and
writes E on the board. She hands the chalk to Precious and
Precious writes F.
The entire class sits simultaneously and then giggles at
This is just the beginning. Why
don't we try by ourselves? There
are 26 letters in the alphabet.
They all have a sound. These
letters make up all the words in
our language. Please open your
notebooks, write the date and then
let's write the alphabet.
The girls begin to write.
52 CONTINUED: 52
Precious soon sets her pencil down, moves her hands to her
stomach and looks faint. She gathers herself, catches her
breath and trudges on.
MS. RAIN (O.S.)
This is going to be painless ...
53 INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY 53
Precious and Ms. Rain sit close together over a small table
looking down at a large colorful children's book.
...I just want you to read a page
from this book.
Precious looks up at her blankly and then back down at the
book with trepidation.
Sure lady, right after I get voted
I can't do that Miz Rain.
C'mon Precious. Give it a try.
Precious looks mortified and starts breathing heavily.
RAPID MONTAGE - DOOR SLAMS, MOANS, PANTING, PLATES BREAKING,
MEAT SIZZLING, ZIPPERS, GRUNTS, SQUEAKING BED SPRINGS,
LAUGHTER, SCREAMS, A RAZOR SLICING YOUNG FLESH, SWEAT and
DAYTIME TELEVISION all assault her mind's senses.
Ms. Rain speaks with a dire look of concern on her face but
no words come out.
She places a hand on Precious' shoulder and the kaleidoscope
of sounds sucks away into the air. The words from Ms. Rain's
mouth finally register.
Precious. Honey are you okay? Try
to relax. Should I call an
ambulance? 911? Your moth ...
53 CONTINUED: 53
Ms. Rain jumps.
What is it?
The pages ...
Ms. Rain looks down perplexed.
They all look alike to me. Always
The words or the pictures?
Ms. Rain sighs. She sits back for a moment and looks as if
she's processing more than just the tragedy of this
particular situation but what is that of countless others.
In a decisive, almost militaristic movement, Ms. Rain sits up
I think I understand you Precious
but I still want you to try. You're
going to have to push yourself.
Precious looks back down at the page. There are people of
various colors on a beach.
What do you think the story is
Peoples at the beach?
Ms. Rain points to the letter A. It is the first word on the
Do you know what that is?
53 CONTINUED: (2) 53
Ms. Rain points to the next word.
Do you know that word?
No. I don't.
Do you know the letters.
Precious nods. Ms. Rain points to the letters ...
D, A, Y.
Do you know that word?
Precious shakes her head.
Day. That word is day.
Ms. Rain points to the next word.
What's that word?
Good! Almost! The word is 'at'.
Ms. Rain points at the next word.
Ms. Rain points to the next word.
'Shore'. That word is 'shore'.
That's almost like 'beach'. Very
good. Can you read the whole thing?
53 CONTINUED: (3) 53
Amazed the words that escaped were from her very own mouth,
Precious' jaw drops. She whirls to Ms. Rain.
Ms. Rain smiles.
We ease away from the office as the two of them continue
working down the page.
54 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. - NIGHT 54
Precious enters the apartment. Mary sits on the couch
watching "THE COSBYS."
Bring your fat ass in here!
Precious suddenly looks exhausted.
Where you sneak your ass off to
Precious doesn't respond.
You hear me talking to you! Where
you sneak your ass off to this
School! I was at school!
You lying whore!
You is! The welfare done called
here, saying they is removing you
from my budget 'cause you not in
regular attendance in school.
Mama, I tole you I got kicked out.
I been home mostly every day for
54 CONTINUED: 54
You didn't say nothin' `bout no
damn school today.
Mama, I tole you dis morning I was
At a loss but still angered, Mary turns back to the
television slowly. Precious starts for her room until...
I ain' had no breakfast.
Precious stops, sighs, heads to the sink and starts washing
Mary talks to Precious while watching television.
...Need to forget school. Need to
git your ass on down to welfare.
Precious dries her hands and reaches for a pan.
I'm gonna get stipend for school
Fool fuck a stipend. What's that? I
said take your ass down to welfare.
Precious stops everything with the pan in her hand.
No stupid. Got to be there at 7 in
the A.M. if you gonna talk to
Precious shakes her head, huffs and turns on the stove. Mary
then presses the mute button on the remote and whirls around
with a cold cigarette between her fingers.
-Oh you too good for that? Is that
what you is now, too good for
54 CONTINUED: (2) 54
More white folks on 'ssistance than
there is niggas Miss Onassis. Other
ones got trust fund welfares from
'sploitin po dumb asses like yo dumb
ass for centuries ...Man on TV say
let's end 'Firmative Action. Fine wit
me. And while we at it, let's take
out son-in-laws, country clubs, white
motherfuckers and then call it a day.
Precious turns to her mother looking surprised but pensive.
Mary's eyes are still fixed on the TV.
Now hurry yo ass up. I'm gon die of
starvation over here. Then where
you be at then?
55 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. - LATER - NIGHT 55
A picturesque plate of pork chops and mashed potatoes.
Precious delivers it to the couch with a fork and knife.
THE APARTMENT HAS TRANSFORMED INTO THE PRISTINE WORLD OF THE
TV SITCOM THEY WERE WATCHING. Precious and Mary are well-
dressed and done-up like TV stars.
What you gon' have?
I ain' hungry. I ...
Yes you is.
But Mama I ...
Sit your ass down.
Precious sighs and joins Mary on the couch.
Mary hands Precious the plate and silverware.
Jus make mine after you done. This
gon' get cold if it sit.
55 CONTINUED: 55
But I thought you said you was
Do what I say don't say what I say.
Now eat bitch!
Precious starts eating slowly. Mary lights her cigarette.
...Best feed like a pig and not a
cow so's you can git yo ass back to
the stove. If I croak off
starvation, where in the world you
be at then?
Precious eats reluctantly.
56 INT. KITCHEN - LATER - NIGHT 56
Pots and pans sit drying on the counter.
Precious wipes her hands on a dishcloth.
The room is quiet and empty now.
Precious stares blankly out of the window.
...She goes to the television, presses the remote and sits
down. "THE COSBYS" is still on. Tired and full, she turns the
TV off. She watches Mary's face snoring rhythmically but with
extremely unpleasant noises. Finally, she backs away and goes
to her bedroom.
57 INT. PRECIOUS' BEDROOM - NIGHT 57
Precious falls back across her bed with her arms spread.
She stares up at the crack in her ceiling...
A hand darts into frame, touches Precious' side and then
quickly withdraws. Precious ignores it. The hand returns for
another jab. Precious restrains a grin. Finally the hand
tickles her fiercely.
57 CONTINUED: 57
She giggles uncontrollably. The hand belongs to Tom Cruise.
He wears a leather jacket with a cherry red motorcycle helmet
tucked under one arm. The helmet has a golden bow stuck on
...Precious chases him out of frame for some revenge tickling
as they both laugh quietly.
...The helmet falls to the floor with a bounce.
WOMAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
...Claireece, would you like to
talk about your home life?
58 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY 58
Precious sits on a small couch in a modest office containing
2 bookshelves, several plaques and 2 file cabinets.
MS. WEISS -40's, CAUCASIAN, CONSERVATIVELY DRESSED sits
across from Precious with a clipboard on her lap and glasses
low on her nose. A strap hangs down from the glasses and
snakes around the back of her neck.
What do you want me to say?
Whatever comes to mind when you
think about your home.
Seem like inquiring white bitches
always want to know.
I wish I had a TV in my room.
Is that all?
No... My muver is a like a whale
person for the couch. She says I
eat alla time, but then she always
makin' me eat... and then call me a
fat mess.... She says apartment is
little because of me.
58 CONTINUED: 58
She only leaves the house to play
the number. Sometimes I feel I
could just sit there wif her
everyday wif the shades drawed,
watch TV, eat, watch TV, eat. Can
we talk about something else now?
Of course. I want to learn more
about your father anyway.
I don't know much more than you do
He say he the original man like
Farrakhan be saying but little do
he know about it. He give me this
baby comin and my other one before.
Thas all I know. Don't see him.
Don't need to I guess.
What did you say your father gave
Yes you did Claireece. You said
your father gave you...
No I didn't neitha. If you heard
that, then you heard sumthin' else
cause I ain' said nuffin like it!
Ms. Weiss' wariness looks unmoved.
Now whas next?
Um...How about your first child?
You haven't spoken much about
58 CONTINUED: (2) 58
Precious turns to Ms. Weiss. A DOORBELL RINGS ...
59 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. APT. - DAY 59
TOOSIE, A WOMAN IN HER LATE 50'S RADIATING A TOUGHNESS OF PRIOR
GENERATIONS, enters the apartment in a business-like manner with
MONGO, A SMALL, DISTRACTED AND OBVIOUSLY HANDICAPPED CHILD.
Toosie has a bag of groceries in her other arm.
Precious watches TV beside her mother. Both appear as if
they've just woken up. Mary attempts to put on her wig and
Toosie gives Mongo to Mary, whose eyes never leave the
television, and then hands the groceries to Precious, who
takes them directly to the kitchen as Toosie leaves without a
MS. WEISS (O.S.)
Mongo? Thas short for Mongoloid.
She got Down Sinder.
MS. WEISS (O.S.)
You mean she has Down Syndrome?
The child seems only mildly aware of what is going on.
The DOORBELL rings again. Precious opens the door. A HISPANIC
WOMAN IN HER THIRTIES with an attache case enters.
As the woman steps inside, we see that Mary has finished
Mary and the woman exchange small talk while Precious
listens. Mary has never seemed so congenial.
My grandmuver Toosie, brangs Little
Mongo over on days social worker
come so it look like Mongo live wif
us. Then my mama get the check 'n
food stamps for me 'n Little Mongo.
But it's my baby. Little Mongo is
money for me, not her!
60 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY 60
Precious continues speaking to Ms. Weiss from the couch.
...Sometimes I see vampires too.
They come for me sometimes and they
say that I am one of them. They
say, "Precious, you belong wif us."
How do you respond to them?
I say, "Check wif my muver." After
that, they just look at me and go
down through the floor. The family
downstairs is vampires so that's
where they should go.
Ms. Weiss looks up from her clipboard and over her glasses.
Precious reflects a moment and then looks up.
I'm going to the doctor now too.
It's nice. Miz Rain, she fall out
when she finded out that I ain'
been to no doctor. Whole class
scream 'preenatal' at me. They
don't know I had my first baby on
the kitchen floor wif my muver
kicking me upside my head. I mean,
who would believe?
Precious snickers reminiscently a moment and then turns to
Them the kind of thangs you mean
when you say talk about whatever
come into my mind?
Ms. Weiss looks up and nods through a perplexed daze.
61 INT. CITY BUS - DAY 61
Precious rides lost in thought.
I still don't know why I said all
them thangs. I know I wasn't
s'posed to. Just tired.
61 CONTINUED: 61
Tired of lying I guess. Hope mama
don't find none of it out. She kill
me for real cause that be tha end
of them welfare checks.
62 EXT STREET - DAY 62
The girls burst into frame followed by Ms. Rain and Cornrows
and then bound up a large number of steps leading into THE
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
63 INT. METROPOLITAN MUSEUM PERMANENT EGYPTIAN ART COLLECTION 63
Led by a spirited guide and trailed by Ms. Rain and Cornrows,
the girls scrutinize colossal tombs, various artifacts,
hieroglyphics and photographs.
Miz Rain brang us out to see some
real old stuff. Thangs and stuff
before TV's was made, before Mr.
Abraham Lincoln, before Miz Harriet
Tubman -maybe some stuff before Miz
Precious and Rita fearfully enter the Tomb of Perneb. 2 steps
in, Rita grabs Precious hand tightly.
Before we turn tha corner in a
mummy tomb, Rita grab hold of my
hand. No one in my life ever do
How Rita do it wiffout a thought?
Rita and Jermaine study a sphinx.
Guide lady smart. Say dis the first
civilization of the Earf. Black
Jo Ann poses like an Egyptian hieroglyphic. Consuelo examines
her nail polish.
64 INT. CLASSROOM -DAY 64
Ms. Rain writes briskly across the blackboard.
As she makes her way across the frame, a barrage of letters
and numbers peel off the board, fly across the room, converge
and enter Precious' forehead.
64 CONTINUED: 64
Just before the letters and numbers reach Precious, lifelike
holographic images flank them. They are SPINNING PLANETS,
FLYING PTERODACTYLS, STAMPEDING ELEPHANTS, EMMETT TILL, MLK,
JFK, MALCOLM X, CIVIL RIGHTS MARCHERS, FIRE, TIDAL WAVES, A
VOLCANIC ERUPTION, CONTINENTS, MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS, LIGHT
BULBS AND THE INVERTED WORDS "JANIE", "SULA" AND "CELIE" ...
A few letters, numbers and images try to reach Jo Ann but
most just bounce off of her and fall away. Consuelo bats a
few mathematical symbols off as if they were flies.
Finally we land on Precious as she confidently stabs her hand
into the air to answer a question.
65 INT. CITY BUS - DAY 65
Precious rides on one of the side seats towards the back
while wearing her red scarf.
The New Yorkers surrounding her are all men of various
backgrounds. All wear the exact same suits and raincoats.
Precious looks up to find two of the businessmen staring down
We pan from them and around the bus to find all of the other
passengers studying Precious in silence as well.
I liked'd that museum so much I went
back by myself... Peoples ...They
only look when my belly big. They
minds all made. But do they know?
No. They do not know that I am a
girl for flowers and thin straw
If other peoples could see that the
way I do, they would see that I am
a real person inside.
Our long circular pan finally lands on Precious' seat but
sitting there now is the pretty blond white girl from
Precious' bedroom mirror wearing Precious' clothes.
The bus grinds to a stop.
A man smiles at Precious and steps off the bus.
The original Precious takes the abandoned newspaper from his
empty seat and tries to read it.
65 CONTINUED: 65
Precious stops to watch two "society" ladies in hats and
gloves push antique buggy style baby carriages along the
Miz Rain say the longest journey
begin wif a single step. I wonder
what step they journeys begin on.
Mama always talk about how there be
all different types of welfare. I
want filfy rich white folks
welfare. Mama crazy but Mama not
Precious continues observing pensively as the ladies pass a
bearded and bedraggled elderly white man laying on the street
in tattered clothes.
As Precious studies him, her expression changes ever so
Enormous handwritten letters forming "NOT STUPID" overtake
her face as we DISSOLVE TO the PAGE upon which she wrote it.
66 INT. HOTEL THERESA CLASSROOM - DAY 66
Precious writes in her notebook. All of the other girls do
I am happy to be writing. I am
happy to be in school. I am happy
to know my baby coming soon. Don't
see the sense in pretending I am
not pregnant anymore. I am also
thinking about lil Mongo a lot. Miz
Rain say we gonna write everyday,
that mean home too.
And she gonna write back everyday.
Precious looks up to find Jo Ann tapping her pencil, looking
around annoyed and literally at a loss for words.
Mama say this new school ain' shit
tho. Say you can't learn nuffin'
writing in no book. Gotta git on
that computer you want to make some
money. But Mama wrong about that.
66 CONTINUED: 66
I is learning. Gonna read to dis
baby too and hang colors on its
We close in on Precious writing as we hear her whisper the
Listen Baby, Muver love you. Muver
not dumb. Listen:
PRECIOUS (CONT'D) PRECIOUS (V.O.) (CONT'D)
(in a whisper) Thas the alphabet. Twenty-six
ABCDEFGHIJKLPMN letters in all. Them letters
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z. make up words. Them words
Precious looks up from her page gazing in an otherworldly way.
One by one, the other girls stop what they're doing and stare
at Precious curiously.
Their eyes turn downward in unison.
CLOSE ON Precious' legs.
A gush of water pours down between them as if it were a tidal
67 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 67
...The wheels of a speeding gurney waggle to remain straight.
...Fluorescent lights stream by overhead.
...Name tags dangle from the chests of attendants pushing the
One we see belongs to a handsome African American Male nurse,
JOHN MCFADDEN. He is constantly looking down with a
...Covered in sweat, Precious screams without our hearing a
68 EXT. HOSPITAL - DAY 68
...Two rain drops dance atop a puddle outside .
...Water drips from a tree limb .
69 INT. HOSPITAL - NIGHT 69
His name Abdul Jamal Louis Jones.
He healthy. His muver love him.
John, the nurse who helped gurney Precious in, again stares
down warmly at her. This time with Abdul in her arms.
69A INT. HOSPITAL BEDROOM - NIGHT 69A
Precious sleeps peacefully. It is still raining outside. Ms.
Rain crochets in the corner.
70 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 70
We are close on Precious. Her eyes focus intently and
occasionally dart up and down.
Nurse John is doing the same thing.
His hands lay on top of Precious' with their palms touching.
We glimpse both of their searching eyes again.
Suddenly, Precious whips her hands over and SLAPS the back of
John's before he can pull them away.
That hurt girl.
Get to X-Ray.
Maybe I will.
You gon have to if you don't practice.
70 CONTINUED: 70
The girls from class ogle him from another part of the room
as he leaves and then nudge and bicker with each other for
pole position to hold Abdul.
Dear Miz Rain, All the years I sit
in class I never learn, but now I
got baby again by my fahver.
Behind the girls, Precious sits up in bed writing in her
I wish I had a boyfriend like other
girls and then I'd feel right that
I have to quit school. I love my
baby but want school too.
Precious closes her book. Jo Ann backs away from the others,
takes the notebook and then leaves.
Rhonda returns Abdul to Precious. The remaining girls embrace
Precious one at a time and then file out of the room.
71 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 71
As the girls stream into the classroom, Jo Ann sets Precious'
notebook on Ms. Rain's desk.
Ms. Rain opens it immediately.
72 INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY 72
Ms. Rain writes at her desk.
MS. RAIN (V. O. )
Dear Precious, I am glad you love
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
I think a beautiful young girl like
you should have a chance to get an
education. I think your first
responsibility has to be to
yourself. You should not drop out
of school ...
73 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 73
Precious reads from her journal.
73 CONTINUED: 73
MS. RAIN (V.O. CONT'D)
Come back to class. We miss you.
Love, Ms Rain.
Precious immediately writes back.
Dear Miz Rain...
74 INT. MS. RAIN APARTMENT - BEDROOM - DAY 74
Ms. Rain sits on the corner of bed reading Precious' journal.
PRECIOUS (V.O. CONT'D )
Social worker ask me if I want to
give Little Mongo and Abdul up for
adoption. I could kill her. She
never help before. Now she want to
take my kids away? If she take
Abdul, I won't have nothing nomore.
75 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 75
Jo Ann bounds into the room with the journal in her hand,
swipes an apple from Precious' tray and takes a bite.
Precious snatches the journal and opens it quickly.
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
Dear Precious, It seems the
opposite to me. If you keep Abdul
you might have nothing. You are
learning to read and write, that is
everything. Come back to school
when you get out of the hospital.
You're only seventeen. Your whole
life is in front of you.
TOOSIE paces Precious' hospital room briskly while holding
Abdul and lecturing Precious fiercely.
Dear Miz Rain, Grandmuver come
visit and say only a dog will drop
a baby and walk off. Say later not
even a dog.
Precious' grandmother continues her sermon. Precious sighs.
75 CONTINUED: 75
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
Dear Precious, You are not a dog.
You are a wonderful young woman who
is trying to make something of her
life. I have some questions for
you. 1. Where was your grandmother
when your father was abusing you?
2. Where is Little Mongo now? 3.
What is going to be the best thing
for you in this situation?
76 INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY 76
Ms. Rain sits at her desk reading with her pen ready.
Dear Miz Rain, Lot of questions you
ask. No muver, no grandmuver and
father rape me years. Little Mongo
wif my grandmuver. Best for me to
stop breaving sometimes I think. I
want to be a good mother too tho.
Ms. Rain writes immediately.
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
Dear Dear Precious, Being a good
mother might mean letting your baby
be raised by someone who is better
able than you to meet the child's
77 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 77
Precious writes while breast-feeding Abdul.
Dear Miz Rain, I is best able to
meet my child's need.
The page turns.
78 INT. MS. RAIN'S CLASS ROOM - DAY 78
The page falls. The students are all at their desks reading.
Ms. Rain writes the following.
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
Dear Precious, When you are raising
a small infant you need help. Who
is going to help you? How will you
support yourself? How will you keep
learning to read and write?
79 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. APT. - DAY 79
We drift towards Mary, at one with the couch, watching
television. One hand holds a cigarette while the other mines
an enormous bag of potato chips elbow-deep.
Her greasy mouth remains occupied with either a cigarette, a
potato chip or both at all times.
The welfare help Mama, it help me.
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
Dear Precious Miss, When you get
home from the hospital, look and
see how much welfare has helped
79A INT. HOSPITAL LOUNGE - DAY 79A
Nurse John and Precious sit quietly. Nurse John hands her an
envelope. Precious opens the envelope to find a beautiful
card. It reads, "God Bless you." There is a $20 bill inside.
She looks up at him, teary eyed and grateful.
80 INT. HOSPITAL - DAY 80
Precious, now wearing her jacket, packs up her things, takes
Abdul and heads out of a spotless room with her child in one
hand and two bags in the other.
81 INT. LIVERY CAB - DAY 81
Precious rides holding Abdul.
MS. RAIN (V.O.)
You could go further than your
mother. You could get your G.E.D.
and go to college. You could do
anything Precious but you have to
believe it. Love, Blu Rain.
82 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. - DAY 82
Precious heads into the main entrance holding Abdul and her
bags as snowflakes start to fall.
83 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. MAIN ENTRANCE - DAY 83
Ruby plays alone with her broken Barbie doll. Precious passes
her without a word. Ruby springs to her feet to trail her.
83 CONTINUED: 83
Hi Precious. You back? That your
new baby? What it's name? Can I
hold it? ..Precious?
Ruby can only watch as Precious disappears into the
83 CONTINUED: (2) 83
Signs on the elevators read "OUT OF ORDER".
84 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. STAIRWELL - DAY 84
Precious climbs the stairs growing short of breath holding
Abdul, her bags and her coat folded over one arm.
Once on the landing, she searches for her keys while trying
to balance Abdul and everything else.
After turning several locks, she pushes into the apartment...
85 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. - CONTINUOUS 85
...looks up and ducks.
CRASH!!! A flying vase barely misses Precious and Abdul and
then shatters against the wall.
MAMA! ! !
SMASH! A plant comes next.
Precious barely dodges that one too and she drops everything
MAMA! ! !
YOU RUIN MY LIFE YOU FAT LITTLE
Mary charges into frame to ram Precious and Abdul like a
Precious sidesteps the charge as Mary leaves a huge
indentation in the wall knocking over a side table and a
potted plant in the process. She grabs her shoulder in pain.
Precious backs away around the living room to flee.
Mary hurls what's left of the plant at Precious from down on
85 CONTINUED: 85
Precious turns her back to shield Abdul. The pot strikes her
in the back. ABDUL SCREAMS louder. Dirt covers Precious.
STOP IT MAMA! YOU GON CRAZY?!!!
As Mary gets to her feet ...
FIRST YOU STEAL MY HUSBAND, THEN
YOU GET ME CUT OFF THE WELFARE YOU
I AIN'T STEAL NUFFIN FROM YOU MAMA!
YOUR HUSBAND RAPE ME AND I NOT
YOU IS! YOU IS TOO! YOU IS AND YOU
ALWAYS GON BE NUTHIN BUT STUPID TIL
THE DAY YOU DIE! YOU HEAR ME?!!
Tears well in Precious' eyes.
SHUT UP MOMMA! I NOT STUPID! I AM
NOT STUPID! DON'T SAY THAT!
Mary GROWLS and charges Precious again.
Precious turns the TV over between them. Electrical sparks
fly as it hits the floor. There is a banging at the door.
Mary, leave that chile alone. Stop
beating that girl Mary.
Mary trips and crashes down on top of the overturned
Precious dashes out of the apartment with only Abdul as Mary
struggles to get up.
I'M GON KILL YOU PIG!
I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DIDN'T
ALREADY. YOU CRAZY BITCH!
86 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. HALL OUTSIDE PRECIOUS APT - DAY 86
Precious dashes out of the apartment with tears in her eyes,
dirt on her clothes, no coat and Abdul SCREAMING IN HER ARMS.
A little OLD WOMAN stands in the hallway shaking her head in
YOU HEAR ME PRECIOUS! GET YOUR BIG,
BLACK ASS BACK IN HERE!
86 CONTINUED: 86
Precious looks back, trips on the landing and tumbles down a
flight of steps cradling and shielding Abdul all the way.
THUD! A hard floor abruptly halts Precious' descent.
She checks Abdul immediately.
He is smiling.
A DOOR OPENS followed by GRUNTS and a CRASH. Precious looks
up to find the broken television tumbling down the steps
At the last second, Precious manages to roll them both out of
the way as the television crashes to the landing shattering
87 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. MAIN ENTRANCE - DAY 87
Precious bursts out of the stairwell with blood streaming
down her nose and Abdul in her arms. Ruby dashes to intercept
Precious what happened?
Ruby places herself between Precious and the door while
moving. Precious however, is in a big hurry.
Precious, could I see your baby now?
I just wanna see.
Precious shows no sign of slowing down. Ruby looks concerned.
Precious, what's wro...
Precious knocks Ruby out of her way and to the floor without
Ruby lands hard and CRIES loudly.
88 EXT. 444 LENOX AVE. - DAY 88
Abdul still in her arms, Precious heads away from the
building under dressed.
The falling snow has thickened considerably.
As she makes her way into the distance, Precious walks into
the snowstorm carrying Abdul.
89 EXT. STOREFRONT CHURCH - DAY 89
She hears the sound of a choir. She approaches the Church
Basement where the voices are coming from.
Precious stares through the window where Choir members are
praising The Lord.
90 INT. 444 LENOX AVE. APT. - DAY 90
Mary barrels into Precious' bedroom yelling and screaming as
she turns the place upside down.
She rips down Precious' handprints along with her Cyndi
Lauper poster. She then picks up a brush and hurls it into
Precious' mirror, shattering it to pieces.
91 INT. STOREFRONT CHURCH - DAY 91
Precious, with Abdul in her arms, is singing along with the
Choir, happier than ever. Tom Cruise joins in clapping, the
stray dog that licked Precious in the beginning at his side.
92 EXT. HOSPITAL - DAY 92
Precious sits on the steps of a hospital. Snow still falling.
She looks confused.
93 INT. HOSPITAL -DAY 93
Precious steps out of an elevator wet from the snow and still
splattered with dirt. She approaches a desk with urgency.
I need to see Nurse John. Where
Nurse John at?
He's on break. He'll be back soon.
Have a seat.
Precious sits on one of a row of chairs by the wall. She
tries to settle Abdul as he starts to CRY.
The skinny Nurse's legs approach and stop in front of
Hey...You don't remember me do you?
93 CONTINUED: 93
Precious looks up to find A SOUR-LOOKING WOMAN glaring down
I delivered your last one.
Precious pauses as if searching for a response to satisfy
Precious looks away. The nurse doesn't leave.
You know I'm sorry to see you back
I remembered hoping that you would
have learned from your mistakes.
You don't know me bitch. Get lost
'fore I kick your ass.
The nurse finally starts away.
The nurse turns around.
I ain't make no mistake unless it
was being born.
DING! The elevator doors open.
John steps off between Precious and the nurse.
Precious starts to rise and John motions for her to stay
seated. He sits beside her.
My Mama kick my ass again. I ain'
giving Abdul away. And I ain' gonna
stop school ...I just...ain't.
John looks concerned.
Precious speaks with great resolve as if forcing herself to
believe her words.
93 CONTINUED: (2) 93
I'm gonna get Little Mongo back
I don't hardly even know what she
look like now. Don't matter tho.
That don't matter.
John looks on heavy-hearted.
94 EXT. HOSPITAL - DUSK 94
Precious is dressed in a hospital gown and draped in a wool
blanket. It is still snowing. John holds an umbrella over
Precious and a bag in one hand as he escorts her out onto the
driveway and into a large gray van.
John places the bag in the van, hugs Precious, closes the
door and then waves as the van pulls away.
Precious turns to watch him recede into the snow through the
Nurse John say lots of people get
out of hospital wif no place to go.
His eyes look worried tho ...Wonder
what next? Scared now.
95 INT. VAN - NIGHT 95
Precious rides in darkness cradling Abdul. She looks up
frightened, taking in the others sitting around her. Shes
hold Abdul closer. The dark swallows her whole.
96 INT. ARMORY - NIGHT 96
Bare light bulbs hang from the ceiling.
Precious lays on a bed breast feeding Abdul and staring up at
the ceiling while covered in a blanket.
We sail away to find they are surrounded by scores of
rudimentary beds, many of which are filled with other women
of varying ages.
96 CONTINUED: 96
A BUG LADY lies next to her with unkempt hair and sores on
...Put your bags in bed with you.
Put your bags in the bed with you.
Put 'em in. Tuck 'em in bed with
The skinny woman on the other side sits up and grabs herself
feverishly as if there were bugs allover her.
AN ENORMOUS AND FEROCIOUS-LOOKING WOMAN IN HER FORTIES steps
up, snatches the blanket off of Precious and Abdul and walks
Give the chile back her blanket!
Fuck you. I ain' giving back shit.
The woman walks away.
Physically and emotionally spent, Precious sighs and then
lifts her bed's top sheet, beneath which is a plastic-covered
She then wraps the sheet around Abdul and herself and hunkers
Precious rocks Abdul gently as her eyes wander around the
AB C D E F G H I J K L M N 0 P, Q
RS T U V, W X Y Z.
Now I know my ABC's, tell me what
you think of me.
Precious kisses Abdul on the head.
Miz Rain say I was moving through
the vowel 'n consonant sounds
faster than even Rhonda Johnson
was. Maybe could've even catched up
to Jermaine. Maybe ...
96 CONTINUED: (2) 96
97 OMITTED 97
98 INT. ARMORY - LATER 98
Precious sleeps soundly.
Something nudges her slightly.
When she finally opens her eyes ...
Abdul is gone! So is her bag.
Precious springs up in a panic turning in every direction.
Where my baby?! Where my baby at?!
The Bug Lady casually points to the exit.
The large ferocious woman heads for the exit with Abdul in
one arm and Precious' bag in the other. She looks down at
Abdul making "baby" faces and sounds.
Precious dashes after her but winces in pain grabbing her
pelvic area along the way.
The Bug Lady follows Precious as a speed walker might.
Precious snatches Abdul and promptly knees the ferocious
woman hard in the gut.
The ferocious woman MOANS as she falls to the ground.
Precious continues kicking and stomping her without abandon.
The bug girl observes stoically. Abdul WAILS.
As she trounces the woman, Precious' eyes fill with a rage we
haven't yet seen.
Finally, two other women pull Precious away while she still
kicks at the woman.
The ferocious woman, now bloodied, falls over on her back
with her eyes closed and her mouth hanging open.
99 EXT. HARLEM - DAY 99
A bright morning skyline stretches over the Hotel Theresa.
A99 INT. ELEVATOR - HOTEL THERESA - DAY A99
Ms. Rain, at work a little earlier than usual this morning,
looks great, and ready for another day.
B99 EXT. LOBBY EACH ONE TEACH ONE - DAY B99
Ms. Rain enters the lobby. The window of the entry door has
been smashed. She opens the door with a look of trepidation.
100 INT. MS. RAIN'S CLASSROOM - DAY 100
Ms. Rain steps into her classroom carrying two bags. She
removes her sunglasses.
The sight before her stops her in her tracks. She drops her
It is Precious, sleeping on the floor with Abdul in her arms.
Her hand is cut and bleeding pretty bad.
Ms. Rain looks incensed.
101 INT. SMALL OFFICE - LATER - DAY 101
Precious sits rocking Abdul with a bandaged hand.
Ms. Rain, still fuming, sits on the other side of the office
dialing a phone number from a list on the wall.
I can tell by Miz Rain's face that
I ain' gonna be homeless no more.
Only I ain' so sure where I'm gon
end up tho.
Yes I'll hold.
(grumbling while on hold)
Safety net huh? What damn safety
net?! A newborn child! A NEW BORN!
In this fucking day and...
Thas the one time I heard Miz Rain
Excuse my language Precious.
101 CONTINUED: 101
I feels really sorry for her. She
just a ABC teacher, not no social
worker. But she all I could think
Rhonda, Jermaine and Consuelo appear in the doorway.
101 CONTINUED: (2) 101
They start for Abdul immediately.
Ms. Rain stops them just as quickly.
Good morning girls. Tell the others
to start writing when they come in.
Whichever one of you is older is in
charge until I get back. And
Consuelo, I know that is not you.
So here is $20.00.
Ms. Rain digs into her purse to find the money. She hands it
Go get something for Precious to
wear. Quick! And bring me back my
The girls nod and leave.
102 INT. DOORWAY BETWEEN MS. RAINS OFFICE AND CLASSROOM - DAY 102
Rhonda and Jermaine head off down the hall.
How old you is?
Same age as you.
When your birthday?
I asked you first.
103 INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY 103
Ms. Rain still waits on hold until ...
Well why didn't you tell me that
before!!! I'm sitting here half the-
103 CONTINUED: 103
Ms. Rain slams the phone down, shakes her head, finds another
number on the wall and then dials again while speaking to
Before this day is up, you will
have a place to live Precious.
Ms. Rain suspends her frustration with a brief smile as she
waits for the other end of the line to pick up.
104 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 104
Jo Ann saunters in.
The other girls are writing already.
Rhonda is at the head of the class displaying unusually good
(looking at her watch)
Jo Ann, you late.
You ain't the teacher.
I am today. Miz Rain busy wif
105 INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY 105
Ms. Rain hangs up the phone.
She looks tired.
They have ...something. It's an
immediate opening and it's in
Precious looks concerned.
Yeah. Queens ...What do you think?
I don't really know Queens.
Me either. You should stay in
Harlem...long as we can anyway.
105 CONTINUED: 105
Ms. Rain takes an organizer from her bag, looks for another
number and picks up the phone.
I have this West Indian friend whose
boyfriend is a council member.
We'll see what they can do...
106 INT. HALLWAY - DAY 106
Precious exits the girls bathroom carrying Abdul. She sports
a new sweat suit.
She pauses before entering Each One Teach One Reception Area
and observes Ms. Rain speaking on the phone for a moment.
Suzanne, the school's administrator stands by.
Precious jumps and turns around to find Cornrows passing by.
Hi Miss Lisa.
How you been?
Good. How you been?
I don't know... I went to see that
movie Barfly last night... That piece
of shit was depressin...Cute kid.
Ms. Rain still on the phone.
I have the information on my desk.
Can you hold one second?
Ms rain places the call on hold.
106 CONTINUED: 106
I think I may be onto something.
Come on Precious.
Precious and Ms. Rain walk back to her classroom.
107 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 107
Ms. Rain and Precious enter the classroom as the girls write
studiously. Rhonda supervises in a staid manner. Clearly she
is enjoying her new appointment.
107 CONTINUED: 107
How do you spell "Aquarius"?
What you want to spell that for?
Is that right?
Of course it's right. I'm one of
I wonder can you spell "boy" then.
I wonder can you spell "slut" then.
Maybe, but I bet Miss Lisa can.
108 INT. MS. RAINS OFFICE - DAY 108
Ms. Rain picks up the line holding.
Yes Brenda. Thank you.
Ms. Rain hangs up the phone, turns to Precious and exhales.
They can take you. Tomorrow...at a
place here in Harlem.
Precious looks relieved.
You just need somewhere to stay
You don't snore do you?
109 INT. MS. RAIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 109
Precious sits at a small kitchen table in a modest but cozy
and craftily-decorated apartment. Fresh flowers adorne her
She breast feeds Abdul and drinks from a tall glass of grape
juice. Ms. Rain clears the table of plates and take-out
WHITNEY HOUSTON IS PLAYING LOUD. KATHERINE, A SEXY BLACK
WOMAN who it seems has just awoken, descends the stairs.
She's not in a good mood.
Honey, how many times did I tell
you about the music?
She stops in mid sentence when she sees precious. Her mood
You must be Precious. Hi.
Katherine bends down to admire Abdul.
Precious, this is my wife
Precious looks confused. She spits her drink out. A lot of
which lands on Abdul.
She wipes Abdul.
I said that this is my wife
Precious' mouth is agape.
109 CONTINUED: 109
(smiling at Abdul)
What's his name? He's adorable.
He looks just like you.
Y'all really married?
Yes Precious. Very much.
Precious still looks confused.
110 INT. MS. RAIN'S APARTMENT 110
The ladies lounge around the living room. Ms. Rain and
Katherine hold glasses of wine. Precious still looks as if
she's trying to keep up.
...Ask yourself. Just ask yourself;
if Ronald McDonald were running the
show and the price of hamburgers
skyrocketed, wouldn't you be
I just think you should finish the
Who's gonna read it?
Nobody if you don't write it.
Precious writes everyday. You
should try it.
What do you write about Precious?
I don't know. Stuff in my life.
110 CONTINUED: 110
How come y'all don't like McDonalds?
Katherine was just drawing a
comparison so that her point could
be more easily understood...
PRECIOUS (V.O.) MS. RAIN
Together, these homo ladies It's called an analogy. For
talk like TV channels I don't example, my uncle Clayton
watch. I'm glad Abdul here to used to smoke like a chimney
listen in on 'em tho cause I and drink like a fish before
know they smart. he got saved.
An Etta James tune begins ...
Ms. Rain and Katherine, high from the wine, spin each other
lazily in a playful dance.
Precious sits watching carefully. She lifts and smells the
gardenias from the table.
Precious starts to pour a bottle of wine into her glass.
Mama say homos is bad peoples ...
A hand intercepts the bottle. It is Ms. Rain's. She then
pours it into her own glass and takes the bottle with her as
she returns to Katherine.
...But homos not who rape me, homos
not who let me sit up in school 16
years and learn nuffin and homos not
sell crack to peoples in Harlem. I
wonder what Oprah have to say about
Ms. Rain looks over to Precious.
You okay Precious?
Y' all watch Oprah?
Ms. Rain gives her a loving smile.
110 CONTINUED: (2) 110
Miz Rain the one who put the chalk
in my hand, make me queen of ABC's.
110 CONTINUED: (3) 110
Precious smiles back with gratitude and great affection.
111 EXT. MS. RAIN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 111
Ms. Rain and Katherine continue dancing in the window as
The evening cityscape sparkles around them.
A111 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE: PRECIOUS' ROOM - DAY/NIGHT A111
MONTAGE: WINTER INTO SPRING AS PRECIOUS AND ABDUL SETTLE INTO
THEIR NEW HOME.
112 INT. HOTEL THERESA CLASSROOM - DAY 112
Streamers hang from the walls. Various handwritten versions
of "Congratulations Precious", obviously written by the
girls, stretch across the blackboard in uneven-sized letters.
Precious stands beside Ms. Rain holding a small trophy and a
check. The other girls flank them standing very straight. All
wear big grins.
Nurse John, without his uniform, has just taken a picture of
The girls go straight for the cookies and punch waiting atop
an orange tablecloth on Ms. Rain's desk. They begin a Soul
Train Line and dance around the desk as Nurse John approaches
Ms. Rain to converse.
After I settle in halfway house, I
work my hardest to memorize letter
sounds, write in journal and read
smaller and fatter books. Then I
find out Mayor's office give me
Literacy Award and check for
progress. Everybody at the party,
Nurse John, Cornrows and the staff
stop in too, but they need to get
back to they desks before too long.
Whole operation can't stop just
cause Miss Precious get a trophy.
Even Ms. Katherine shows.
John discreetly beckons Precious over to the side as she
blows into a noisemaker. Both she and John dance in high
112 CONTINUED: 112
John hands Precious a giftwrapped present. She shakes it and
then opens it.
It is a leather bound journal with blank pages. Precious
flips through it.
112 CONTINUED: (2) 112
Thanks Nurse John.
They exchange a familiar, moderately complicated handshake.
You're welcome. What are you gonna
do with your award money?
I owe the chicken place for a
bucket that I swiped last year.
Thas first. After that, get some
thangs for Abdul.
You know Blu?
Precious holds up two intertwined fingers.
Well she has, has she uh...got a
Well I was hoping you could put in
the good word.
The good word...wif Ms. Rain?
Yeah, that's what I'm trying to
You ain't her type.
John looks confused.
113 INT. HOTEL THERESA CORRIDOR - DAY 113
Precious leads John down the hall by the hand.
She stops in front of Cornrows' desk as Cornrows converses on
the phone while picking her nails.
The previously illegible sign on her desk now reads "EACH ONE
(on the phone noticing
Hold on girl.
Cornrows lowers the phone and waits for Precious to speak.
Miss Lisa this Nurse John. Nurse
John this Miss Lisa.
Cornrows looks up at John.
Precious heads back to the party. Nurse John and Cornrows
watch her curiously.
Y'all work it out.
Nurse John and Cornrows turn to each other.
Hi ...How are you?
Cornrows looks him up and down then hangs up the phone
I get off at 4.
114 INT. CLASSROOM - DAY 114
The room is empty except for Ms. Rain standing on a chair
taking streamers down.
Precious appears in the doorway and studies Ms. Rain a moment
as if seeing her for the first time.
Ms. Rain steps down from her chair looking tired.
Precious enters the room.
114 CONTINUED: 114
Precious, I thought you went home.
Not yet. I forgot to say thank you
for my party.
You're welcome. It was my pleasure.
Precious just watches her.
Was there something else?
Are you sure?
Well, I was thinking...
You talk to us girls in the class
when we be working out problems and
thangs and stuff, right?
Ms. Rain speaks to Precious while picking up around the room.
Well, who do you talk to?
Caught off guard, Ms. Rain looks at Precious curiously.
Or you probably don't have no
Everybody has those Precious.
114 CONTINUED: (2) 114
Ms. Rain, some folks just got it
made in the shade.
It only looks that way. Yes, I
talk to people all the time for
Oh, okay...I didn't have nobody to
really speak wif for a long time. I
know how that be sometimes so thas
why I asked cause almost evrybody
need a little help once in a ...
Ms. Rain abruptly stops what she's doing. Precious looks
What on earth are you talking
Well ...only that -well, evrybody
need a little help once in a ...
I jus ...
You just what?!
I just thought that if you might
need some ...
You've helped me already.
114 CONTINUED: (3) 114
Precious looks both confused and relieved. Ms. Rain sits
while motioning for Precious to do the same.
Me? I never...
Precious stops as Ms. Rain looks away as if gathering her
Last night I had a conversation
with my mother, and that never
happens cause our relationship
is.... complicated. We don't speak,
and when we do, it always ends in a
fight about my filthy misguided
existence. Most times I feel
terrible for days afterwards
wondering whether all the hateful
things she said are true. Those
days I just feel like...like...
...Yeah. I didn't feel so bad this
Cause this time I thought about how
strong you've had to be and then I
decided that I had nothing to be
ashamed of and that my mother was
wrong about me, my dad and 5 or 6
hundred other things. You ask if
you can help me? Baby, you already
That's the for real, hope to die if
I'm lying truth. Now shouldn't you
be out the door?
I jus help you finish up first. I
got some time.
114 CONTINUED: (4) 114
Ms. Rain motions to the other end of a long folding table.
Precious takes hold of it and they carry it across the room
As we watch from a distance...
Some folks got a light around them
that shine for other peoples. I
think maybe some of them was in a
long tunnel before. And in that
tunnel, maybe the only light they
had was one that was inside of them
and then -even long after they
escaped that tunnel, they still be
shining for everybody else. Thas
Miz Rain to me.
115 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE: PRECIOUS' ROOM - DAY 115
Precious' trophy sits on the windowsill beneath a thin a
layer of dust.
A stack of books sit on her bureau.
Colorful letters and numbers hang on the wall. Beneath them
hang postcards featuring Zora Neal Hurston, Alice Walker,
Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey.
Abdul sleeps in his crib.
Precious makes her bed.
In a book I read, a lady escaped to
a 1/2 way house. And the lady, she
asked the people there just what a
1/2 way house was. They tole her,
you is 1/2 way between the life you
had and the life you want to have
...Thas nice. That also mean I
can't stay here forever and that
there is still a ways to go. It be
something to get apartment of my
116 EXT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE PARK GROUNDS - DAY 116
A larger Abdul steps towards us with Precious behind him
wearing a cotton dress that looks vaguely like one Ms. Rain
Abdul nine months old and walking!
Smart too. I been reading to him
since the day he was born almost.
Barely talkin' and he countin' .
R117 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE/POOL - DAY R117
Precious plays with Abdul in the shallow end of the community
Mama, Daddy, I.S. III and 444 Lenox
Avenue already seem like a past
life or some old bad dream. I wish
I could have started out from here
but still wif Abdul and poor Mongo.
118 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE: PRECIOUS' ROOM - DAY 118
Precious looks out of her open window with a glass of water
in her hand.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.
Precious closes her window.
The door to her room opens. CHELSEA, A 30-S0METHING SOCIAL
WORKER steps in looking slightly uncomfortable.
Precious ...you have a visitor.
Thas Rhonda. She always early.
118 CONTINUED: 118
I should've said 4 'cause then that
It's not Rhonda.
119 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE HALLWAY - DAY 119
Precious descends a staircase to a long corridor clearly deep
in thought every step of the way.
She stops momentarily to straighten her clothes.
When she finally reaches a day room at the other end of the
hall, she looks through its window for a moment.
Mary sits inside crushing and dwarfing the couch upon which
she waits. She looks frail. Her wig is half combed. She's
nervous. Her sweaty hands crumple her cigarette package.
Precious covers her nose a moment, lowers her hand, readies
herself and then steps into the room.
120 INT. DAY ROOM - DAY 120
Once inside the room, and for the first time, Precious' soft
face looks like stone.
Mary looks up with a brief but quickly fading smile that is
pathetic, apologetic and grim.
The air is thick without a single word between them.
Finally, Mary looks down.
Your daddy dead.
Precious looks surprised for a moment but still composed.
Mary waits for a response.
...Is that all?
120 CONTINUED: 120
Carl ...Carl had that AIDS virus.
A previously unseen woman sitting across the room looks up
from behind a newspaper.
Precious stays stone-faced until she finally GASPS as the
aftershock of the revelation hits her squarely.
The man across the room collects his hat and coat and leaves.
INSERT -GLIMPSES OF CARL REMOVING HIS BELT, CARL THRUSTING ON
TOP OF PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS FOLLOWING ABDUL TAKING EARLY STEPS.
We return to the dayroom as Precious opens her eyes and lifts
them to Mary slowly.
... You got it?
The AIDS virus.
How you know?
We never did, you know...
No, I don't know Mama.
We never did what you got to do to
He never been wif you?
Yeah...but not like faggots, in
the ass and all, so I know.
Precious is speechless. It looks as if some of her anger has
suddenly been displaced with pity.
120 CONTINUED: (2) 120
You better go to the doctor Ma.
Mary looks up delicately.
You welcome back home.
I'm home here.
I better go see 'bout Abdul and do
Mary doesn't move as Precious leaves.
Mary sits staring at the floor at the far side of the room.
121 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE: PRECIOUS' ROOM - DAY 121
Precious enters, takes Abdul from his crib, holds him closely
and sits on her bed.
Moments later, a TAPPING on the window draws her attention.
Precious rises to find Tom Cruise hurling pebbles up at her
window in a leather jacket.
A MOTORCYCLE sits a few feet away from him.
He beckons her.
She stares down at him with solemn eyes.
Tom finally mounts his bike and vanishes into thin air while
revving its engine.
Mary then crosses the frame where he was.
Precious turns to Abdul and kisses him on the head.
122 EXT. STREET - DAY 122
Precious walks over the crest of a hill deep in thought with
her hands in her pockets. The constant HUM of the city seems
lower than usual as Precious' FOOTSTEPS make the most
122 CONTINUED: 122
From this distant view, it appears as if she is almost
walking in place.
123 INT. HOTEL THERESA CLASSROOM - DAY 123
Ms. Rain stands before the blackboard with a piece of chalk
in her hand pointing to the word "unrelenting", which is
written behind her.
Consuelo is missing and TWO NEW GIRLS, AISHA, INDIAN AND FROM
GUYANA AND BUNNY, VERY THIN WITH BAD TEETH have joined the
Rita, what do I mean when the
author describes her protagonist's
circumstances as "unrelenting"?
I don't know Miz Rain.
C'mon Rita, think about the
question before you just give up
Ms. Rain's voice trails off as we find Precious lost in
124 INT. CLINIC - DAY 124
Precious waits in a small gray office.
A FEMALE COUNSELOR WITH SYMPATHETIC EYES carrying a file sits
across from her.
Her eyes say everything.
The counselor places a hand on top of Precious'.
125 INT. HOTEL THERESA CLASSROOM - DAY 125
All the girls write in their journals except for Precious,
who again looks preoccupied.
Ms. Rain watches her.
Precious doesn't respond.
125 CONTINUED: 125
The entire class looks up at Precious.
Ms. Rain waits for a response.
Precious, bring your journal to me.
Precious waits a moment and then shakes her head without
Ms. Rain goes to her desk and picks up the journal without
The words "Why me?" sit alone on the page with lines crossed
through them. Ms. Rain returns the journal to Precious' desk
still opened to the same page.
Precious, would you come to my
office for a moment?
Precious doesn't respond.
The class still watches curiously.
Ms. Rain, steps back, sits on the edge of her desk and folds
Nurse say I am H.I.V. positive.
The air changes sharply.
I don't have nuffin to write today
and I don't hate no one. Not even
my muhver. My head is all dark
inside so I don't have nuffin to
write today...Maybe nuffin never.
Rita rises, walks to Precious and embraces her. Tears well in
125 CONTINUED: (2) 125
Still trying to stay composed, Precious wipes her face.
Ms. Rain rises, walks to Precious and rubs her back as she
looks around to the other girls who are still stunned.
Your baby okay?
The class waits on pins and needles. Precious doesn't answer
at first and just looks down until ...
Yeah. He good...Won't bress feed
him no more to be safe.
One time in your journal you told
me that you had never really told
Precious' eyes well up some more.
She wipes her face again.
What for? How?! I feel like I am
drowning inside a giant river Miz
Rain. Thas what...
Precious stops herself abruptly as if being overwhelmed by a
sense of futility.
I think telling your story will get
you over that river Precious ...
Precious erupts hurling her journal sharply across the room.
It bounces hard off the blackboard and stops abruptly on the
FUCK YOU! YOU DON'T KNOW NUFFIN
WHAT I BEEN THROUGH!!! I NEVER HAD
NO BOYFRIEND! MY DADDY SAY HE GONNA
MARRY ME BUT HOW HE DO THAT,
FUCKING ME ILLEGAL? I NEVER BEEN NO
CHILD! NOT EVEN ONE DAY!!!
The class looks shocked. Precious' wet eyes are filled with
125 CONTINUED: (3) 125
A moment later, Ms. Rain walks calmly across the room,
retrieves the journal and places it back on top of Precious'
Open your notebook Precious.
I'm tired Miz Rain!
I know you are but you can't stop
now. You gotta fight through this.
You still have to live your life
and do the best you can with the
hand you've been dealt. If not for
yourself then for the people who
Precious HUFFS cynically.
Nobody love me. Thas a lie.
People do love you Precious.
Please don't lie Miz Rain! Love?!
Me?! Love rape me, beat me, call me
animal, get me sick and make me
feel wurfless. I had enough love.
That wasn't love. There are people
in this room who love you. Your
child loves you too. Is that clear
Precious? Now if Rita decided to
just give up? Would you let her?
Precious doesn't answer.
And why not?!
125 CONTINUED: (4) 125
Precious doesn't answer.
Because you love her...as much as
she loves you.
Precious looks to her side and finds Rita smiling
reassuringly through her crooked teeth.
Now the rest of the world can judge
you, cheat you, beat you, dismiss
you and abandon you all it wants
but we won't let you give up and
that's the only thing that matters.
Some people have less than that on
their side and still manage to keep
It's up to you.
Precious thinks a long moment, wipes her face and exhales.
She doesn't move for what seems like ages.
The whole class watches her until Ms. Rain motions for them
to continue working. Finally, Precious takes hold of her pen,
opens her journal, sighs deeply and starts to write again.
126 EXT. PARK - DAY 126
Our young ladies and Ms. Rain are seated around a picnic
table eating, laughing, talking and writing in their journals
all at the same time. Precious has found friends.
As we watch Rhonda ...
Some things is hard to say and
maybe not your business no way but
Rhonda's brother rape her for years
and when her muhver fine out, she
throw Rhonda out her house.
As we watch Rita smiling...
126 CONTINUED: 126
Rita's daddy kill her muhver in
front of her eyes and Rita been out
on the street selling herself since
As we watch Jermaine laughing...
Jermaine say mens beat her and then
rape her for what she is. Muhver
throw her out the house when she
fine out that she different from
As we watch Ms. Rain.
Miz Rain still a sort of mystery,
but a nice one like the sun.
As we watch the group from a distance...
Miz Rain right too. These girls is
my family now. They visit me at
hospital when I had Abdul and even
take up a collection when Mama kick
me out. They got love in they eyes
and in they hearts for me, same as
I got for them.
127 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY 127
Ms. Weiss speaks from behind her desk as Precious sits on the
couch beside her backpack looking bored.
...You know you can use your
notebook between sessions
I mean you can use it specifically
for trying to recover certain early
Precious nods mechanically.
127 CONTINUED: 127
Tired of this lady asking me
questions. Miz Rain say talk anyway
but Miz Weiss just a spy for the
State who write reports on me
undercover. Reports go in file.
File say what I could get, where I
could go and if I could get cut off
and kicked out of Advancement
What are you thinking?
Oh I doubt that Claireece. It seems
like you're always thinking about
I don't know. It's sort of hot in
here I guess.
It is, isn't it? As a matter of
fact, I'm going to get myself
something to drink. Would you like
something to drink Claireece?
A soda sounds nice ...please.
I don't care.
Oh c'mon, you must.
Ms. Weiss collects some change, grins at Precious and then
steps out of the room leaving her purse open on the desk.
127 CONTINUED: (2) 127
Back in a jiffy.
The moment the door closes, Precious dashes across the room
for the file cabinet behind Ms. Weiss' desk.
Precious searches the drawers in the cabinet and rifles
through the files.
128 EXT. HALLWAY - DAY 128
Ms. Weiss inserts several pieces of change into a vending
machine and presses a button. A can of Soda CLUNKS down
through the bowels of the machine.
129 OFFICE 129
Pouring through the "J" files, Precious stops at Jones and
then first goes for "P". She sees nothing, sucks her teeth,
thinks a moment and then looks for "C".
130 HALLWAY 130
Ms. Weiss saunters back towards the office whistling softly
with 2 sodas in her hand.
131 OFFICE 131
Precious finally finds the file with her name on it and looks
up as FOOTSTEPS sound outside the door.
Ms. Weiss steps in.
Precious is now seated on the couch again with a corner of
her file protruding from her bookbag.
Ms. Weiss hands Precious her soda.
You know your mother's been calling
here wanting to come visit.
Would you like her to come to a
counseling session with you?
131 CONTINUED: 131
I don't know. I never really
thought about it before.
Well that's just one more thing to
consider before I see you next
Ms. Weiss smiles at Precious. Precious smiles back.
132 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE: PRECIOUS' ROOM - DAY 132
Jermaine rocks Abdul's crib with one hand while looking at
the file with Precious as both girls sit cross-legged on
Precious reads carefully.
'I have just finished a session
with Claireece Precious Jones, an
eighteen-year-old African American
female. According to her teachers
at Each One Teach One where she
attends school she is a pen-, phen-
...success. Having made strides so
tre-men-tremendous in the past
year, she was given the mayor's
award for outstanding achievement.
She seems actively en...engaged in
all aspects of the learning
process. However, her TABE test
scores are disappointingly low... '
Not to Miz Rain! Not to Miz Rain!
'She scored 2.8 On her last test.'
So what! Miz Rain-
Get a grip and gon' read the report
and don't get all emotional about
what this silly hoe got to say.
Anyway, if your shit wasn't dope
you wouldn't be standing up here
readin' -what, what's her name
(looks up on the page)
132 CONTINUED: 132
Ms. Weiss. What Ms. Weiss got to
'She will need at least an 8.0
Before she can enter G.E.D. Class
and begin work toward her high
Surprised and impressed, Jermaine double takes on Precious.
'Abdul is the client's second-born
child. He's from all outwhere...
'Appearances, a healthy and
toddler. Precious attends to his
Precious and Jermaine look at each other. Both are at a
PRECIOUS & JERMAINE
... 'and with great affection and
... 'seeks any and all information
on child rearing. The time and
resources it would require for this
young woman to get a G.E.D. or into
college would be considerable'...
Precious stops reading abruptly and hands the file to
Jermaine. Jermaine looks at Precious oddly.
132 CONTINUED: (2) 132
Finish reading this ...I know
Jermaine pauses and then continues reading the file as
Precious rises and paces the room.
'Although she is in school now, it
is not a job readiness program.
Nonetheless, Claireece is capable
of going to work. In January, her
son will be two years old. In
keeping with the new initiative on
welfare reform, I feel Claireece
would benefit from any of the
various workfare programs in
existence. Despite her obvious
intellectual limitations she is
quite capable of working as a home
I don't want to be no motherfucking
home attendant! I wanna be...
Hush! 'My rapp-o-r-t with Precious
is minimal. Although I am not sure
with whom, she evidently has access
to counseling services provided by
Each One Teach One. She has a
history of sexual abuse and is
She say she not put that in my
That's the bitch's job, to get the
mofuckin' goods on you!
'The client seems to view the
social services, AFDC, as taking
care of her forever.'
Jermaine sets the file down and looks up at Precious.
That file do show one thing -that
132 CONTINUED: (3) 132
this hoe don't know nuffin wurf
knowing about Claireece Precious
I'm getting my G.E.D., a job, and a
place for me and Abdul, then I go
to college. I don't want to 'home
You better put this shit back
before you get in trouble. We talk
about it with Ms. Rain in the
133 INT. ADVANCEMENT HOUSE HALLWAY - DAY 133
Precious hurries into a room carrying Abdul. The sign on the
door says "DAYCARE".
Precious dashes out of the room alone.
And don't be coming back late for
his bad ass neither.
134 EXT STREET - DAY 134
Precious marches to school with her bookbag and red scarf.
She clearly has a lot on her mind.
Miz Weiss just part of the gang but
definitely not cool. And social
worker look at me like I am ugly
freak who did something to make my
own life like it is. I guess I am
trying to figure out just what has
happened to me while Miz Weiss just
hell bent on making me go wipe old
Precious crosses the street.
Got to sort dis out quick tho 'fore
Abdul's next birthday -coming up fast.
135 INT. HOTEL THERESA CLASSROOM - DAY 135
The whole class writes until Ms. Rain looks at her watch
135 CONTINUED: 135
Time is up. Does anyone want to
The only hand up belongs to Precious'.
I don't really want to read all I
wrote, I jus' wanna kinda say what
it is I'm writing about and how it
Well, to make a long story short,
the counselor at Advancement House
quizzing me about Mama and Daddy
etc., etc. But it's really about
workfare. She want to send me out
as home attendant.
How you know?
Cause I stole my file from
Advancement House and read it.
The class GASPS.
Next time get mine's too.
All this 'What you wanna be?' And
'You can talk to me.' They ain' no
motherfucking therapists on our
side, they just flunkies for the
'fare. I wanna work, but not for no
motherfucking welfare check in
Central Park -displacing brothers
and sisters who really got jobs
cleaning up 'cause I'm there
working for free.
Jermaine speaks while slouched in her chair with her feet
crossed and arms folded.
135 CONTINUED: (2) 135
And what kinda shit is it for
someone like Precious to have quit
school before she get her G.E.D. to
work at some live-in job for some
old-ass crackers. She'll never make
a rise she get stuck in some shit
Sit up straight Jermaine and watch
your language. Both of you. Please.
Jermaine reluctantly sits up.
Now I see your points, but is
Miz Rain, If I didn't steal that
file I wouldn't know what I was
You read the whole thing by
Rhonda home attend. Say old bitch
would ring a bell when she want
Rhonda in the night!
Rhonda used to have to go all the
way out to Brighton Beach where she
work for them people.
The people had her there all day
and night - 'on call' they call it.
But you only get pay for 8 hours so
that's 8 X $6.37
(referring to her
= $50.96 a day, but then you is not
really getting that much cause you
is working more than eight hours a
day. You is working 24 hours a day
and 50.96 divided by 24 is...
135 CONTINUED: (3) 135
(referring to her
$2.12 by my count.
Rhonda say old bitch would ring a
bell - a actual bell -when she want
Rhonda in the night!
Home attendants usually work six
days a week. I would only see Abdul
on Sundays? When would I go to
Am I gonna hafta go be home
attendant like Rhonda was?
No! So stop worrying about it.
We'll cross that bridge when we get
to it. Trust me -no, trust
yourself. My concern now is that if
this Ms. Weiss is someone you're
working with and can't trust, she's
out! We gotta find somebody else.
Well, I just write in my notebook
till I get wif some kinda therapist
I can trust. Actually that always
help me more than talking to her.
Plus, I'm going to start going to
meetings wif Rita for insect
That's what I mean.
Well it ain't what you been saying.
What's the big deal?
One's where your family molest you,
the other is like a roach or bugs.
135 CONTINUED: (4) 135
Precious, have you ever had your
No. I never really had nothing
tested...nothing like that. Glasses
is what I really want so my eyes
don't hurt when I be reading at
The sound of a RUMBLING BUS ENGINE accelerating leads us
136 INT. CITY BUS - DAY 136
Rita looks out the window of a moving 102 bus and then steps
across the aisle and sits beside Precious who stares out the
Rita and me on our way. I look at
subway map sometimes and wonder
where I be if I go to the end of
the line. Jermaine say there be a
white boy wif a baseball bat when
you get off. Rita say it's not
true, or if it be true, it's only
The bus comes to a stop and the girls dash out the back door.
137 EXT. UPPER WEST SIDE SUBWAY EXIT - DAY 137
Precious and Rita climb up out of the subway.
138 EXT. STREET - DAY 138
Precious and Rita walk with Precious looking around as Rita
139 INT. MEETING ROOM - DAY 139
In a simple meeting room, women of all different ages, colors
and strata sit in a large circle.
IRENE, A GORGEOUS SLENDER BLOND WITH LUSTROUS HAIR AND
SPARKLING EYES stands.
139 CONTINUED: 139
Hello and welcome to our Tuesday
night beginner's meeting...My name
is Irene. I am an incest
Precious looks utterly amazed. Her jaw drops. From here, the
women's voices are so faint that they are barely audible as
we hear Precious' thoughts.
PRECIOUS (V.O.) IRENE
This girl look like a movie It started when I was about 4
star and she in here too?! or 5 years old with him
All kinda women in here. fondling me. By the time I
Princess girls, big girls, was 12, he was having
old women, young women, white intercourse with me 3 or 4
women, lotta white women. Times a week...
A montage of other women standing and speaking follows. As
the women talk, Precious' face fills with the wonder of
seeing the world through the window of a spacecraft headed
CANDACE, SIXTIES, WHITE speaks next.
PRECIOUS (V.O.) CANDACE
What am I hearing?! What in ....I didn't remember what my
the world?! One hour and a father did to me for so many
alf women talk. How can this years until after he died...
happen to so many people?
CAITLIN, 20's, WHITE speaks.
PRECIOUS (V.O.) CAITLIN
And these is just the ones ...I am a proud lesbian. But
that come out to the meeting. it's the only thing I'm proud
What about the rest? Do I of. I was confined to a
pass them in the street and mental institution for 14
do not know? years....
Finally, Precious stands.
She looks around as if seeing from the top of a mountain.
Finally she clears her throat and then ...
I was raped by my father and beat
by my mother ever since I could
remember anything at all. Raped and
beat by both.
139 CONTINUED: (2) 139
The worst part about it...the part
even worse than them doin' it...was
how shamed I felt during the times
when my father was raping me and it
felt ...good. Anyway, I see a girl
and always think I know how easy or
bad she have it just by lookin'.
Now I wonder if everybody go
through sumthin' -sumthin' that
leave a shadow in they life.
Never said alla that before...
Precious looks around the room to find herself surrounded by
Anyway, thas all I'd like to say
for today. Thank y'all for letting
Irene nods and Precious sits. Rita squeezes her hand. Another
woman stands up to recount her story. Precious looks aglow.
Everything is floating around me
now. Like geeses from the lake. I
see flying. Feel flying. Am flying.
Far up...Thank you Rita for getting
me here on time.
140 INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE MEETING ROOM - A LITTLE LATER 140
The group slowly emerges. A table with a nice arrangement of
cookies stands next to a coffee maker and soda machine.
Irene chats with Candace over a cup of coffee. Precious and
Rita talk with TWO OTHER YOUNG WOMEN, MIRIAM, BLACK 20's LONG
PRETTY DREADLOCKS and LISA, WHITE 20's.
...How you get your hair like that?
Oh, you like it? I do yours one day
if you want. That's what I do - fix
people's hair and makeup.
Miriam hands Precious a card. Precious reads the card
carefully and puts it away with care.
Thank you Miriam.
140 CONTINUED: 140
Do you want another hot chocolate?
Precious smiles and shakes her head no. Rita gets up.
Precious watches her go as Miriam and Lisa chat.
Rita ask me do I want another hot
chocolate. I do but I don't want to
be greedy, even if her boyfriend do
give her money.
Precious looks around at all of the other girls.
I'm alive inside. A bird is my heart.
Mama and Daddy didn't win. I'm
winning. I'm drinking hot chocolate
on the Upper West Side with girls -
all kind who love me. How does a
stranger meet me and love me?
Rita returns with two cups of hot chocolate. She gives one
Precious thanks Rita with her eyes.
R141 EXT. MRS. WEISS'S WAITING AREA - DAY R141
Precious, wearing her new scarf and glasses, sits in the
waiting room holding a book in her hands. Abdul plays among
the little children in the kids area behind her. Crumpled
wrapping paper lays beside her. The book's first page reads:
CONGRATULATIONS PRECIOUS! I'M SO PROUD OF YOU YET AGAIN.
LOVE, MS. RAIN
Sheila and Ruby walk in and sit down beside Precious. Ruby
has a black eye. They sit in silence for a few moments,
waiting for their turn.
Sheila Hewitt, Ms. Rubenstein is
ready for you.
R141 CONTINUED: R141
Go on back there!
But there are no kids there I can
Do you want me to knock your other
eye out! Just sit there and shut
up then! I'm going to talk to this
lady before my shit gets cut off!
Sheila heads up the stairs toward the offices. Precious
closes her book. Its cover reads: Chrystal Stair: Selected
Works by Langston Hughes.
Clareece Precious Jones! Mrs.
Weiss is ready for you.
Precious stands up and looks down at Ruby, sulking in her
chair. She leans down, gives her a big hug and tenderly
fixes Ruby's hair.
Precious walks off toward the stairs, but stops when she
passes a mirror hanging on the wall. Within the reflection,
she sees her true self for the first time.
R141 CONTINUED: (2) R141
One day Miz Rain ask us to write
about our ideal self...I wrote that
I would be light skinned and small
wif wavy swing-job hair.
She heads up the stairs toward the offices.
Miz Rain read all that and then say
I am beautiful like I am. I never
believe her before but somehow,
today, this moment -can't say why,
I do. Just now...The inside I
thought was so beautiful is a black
R141 CONTINUED: (3) R141
Precious turns around to find that Ruby has grabbed her arm.
She then reaches up and hugs Precious tightly.
Through the embrace, Precious finds herself facing the many
mirrors on display by the old man on the folding chair. In
her reflections, she sees the skinny white girl who she has
frequently imagined herself as gradually transform into the
real Precious one by one.
142 EXT. STREET - DAY 142
We tilt down upon a stately pre-war building bathed in stark
MS. WEISS (O.S.)
Perhaps we should begin by talking
a little bit about the abuse.
143 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY 143
Mary looks worse than ever. Her hair and clothing are
disastrous. She rocks somewhat anxiously on the edge of her
seat like a desperate salesman looking to close a deal.
Yes Ms. Johnston. Abuse.
There was no drugs in ma house! No
drugs! 'Cause Precious know damn
well I whoop her ass bright blue if
she bring some drugs in ma...
I'm referring to inappropriate acts
of a physical and sexual nature
Why'nt you say dat? Dat?! Okay.
When it first start?
Yes. According to Precious' files
she has had two children by your
boyfriend, the late Carl Kenwood
Jones, who is also her father?
143 CONTINUED: 143
You've been calling here saying you
want to be reunited with your
daughter and grandson and that you
want them to come home. Well I
think you'd better explain just
what happened in that home.
Precious waits nervously.
...Well, I, Precious b'long at home
cause I'm a good mother. She had
everything. I done tole her that.
Pink 'n white baby carriage, little
pink bootie socks, dresses;
everything I put on her pink.
Precious, she so smiling and
healthy. A day don't go by I don't
throw her wheeling in the air. I
take her up and down 125th Street.
Me 'n Carl loved Precious. I
dreamed of the day we was gonna you
know, git married, git house wif
grass, color TV's in all the rooms.
Precious, She born about the same
time as Miz West son that got kilt.
You remember him don't you
Precious looks at a loss.
He born summertime 'bout same time
I was born in November...far as I
Yeah yeah thas right. My little
Scorpio chile! Scorpio's crafty. I
ain' sayin' they lie, jus' you
cain't always trust 'em.
Precious looks embarrassed beyond embarrassment.
Ms. Johnston, when did the abuse
happen, how often, where? And, when
were you first aware of what was
143 CONTINUED: (2) 143
When? I don't know when it start.
When I remember it? She still
little. Yeah, around three maybe. I
give her a bottle. I still got milk
in my bresses but not from her but
from Carl sucking. I give him
tittie, Precious bottle. Hygiene,
You mentioned something about
hygiene in connection with...
Ms. Weiss can't go on.
I bottle her, tittie him. Bottle
more better for kidz. Sanitary. But
I never git dried up 'cause Carl
always on me. It's like that you
know. Chile, man -a woman got bofe.
What you gonna do? So we in bed. I
put her one side of me on pillow,
Carl on other side of me. Ms. Weiss
looks as if she's stopped
breathing. I think thas the day IT
start. So he on me. Then he reach
over to Precious! I say Carl what
you doing! He say shut your big ass
up! This good for her. I say stop
Carl stop! I want him on me! I
never wanted him to hurt her. I
didn't want him doing anything to
her. I wanted my man for myself -to
sex me up, not my chile. Me God
damn it! So you cain't blame all
that shit happen to Precious on me.
I love Carl, I loved him. He her
daddy but he was my man!
Mary can't help but to shoot a look of anger at Precious
while Ms. Weiss pauses to regain her composure...
LONG DISSOLVE TO:
144 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - DAY 144
Precious nods reluctantly.
Lady from Each One Preach One
say she got poems too. In fact...
That's enough Mama. That's ...
You know, I didn't realize what you
was until this day -even after all
those thangs you did. Maybe I
didn't know no better or maybe I
just didn't want to but I finally
see you crystal clear for the first
I forgive you too.
Mary smiles warmly and nods confidently to Ms. Weiss.
...but I'll never see you again.
Not even if you dead.
Mary's expression drops. Precious turns to Ms. Weiss as Mary
starts to spring up from her seat.
(without looking at her)
Stay down Mama.
Mary sits obediently. Precious turns to Ms. Weiss.
I forgive you too. I can tell right
now that you ain't qualified for
dis kind of mess.
Precious thinks a moment and grins a grin that seems much
...Precious? I was thinking we
I took the TABE test again. This
time it's 7.8. Last time it was
144 CONTINUED: 144
According to the test, I'm reading
around 7th or 8th grade level now.
High school level next. College
...Why congratulations Precious.
Precious stands abruptly, startling both women. She takes a
step towards her mother. Mary winces. Ms. Weiss looks
Precious, perhaps it's best if you
Precious leans and kisses Mary tenderly on the cheek, turns
and gently touches Ms. Weiss' shoulder.
Precious takes a good look at them both, smiles and leaves
MS. WEISS (O.S.)
145 INT. CORRIDOR - CONTINUOUS 145
Ms. Weiss calls after her. Precious keeps walking.
MS. WEISS (O.S.)
Precious doesn't stop.
146 INT. CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS 146
The women run to the window.
They see Precious burst out onto the street.
147 EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS 147
Precious walks down the crowded street carrying Mongo and
Andre. She is happy and filled with hope. Tom Cruise is there
chatting up another young girl... she pays him no mind.
148 DEDICATION 148
...for precious girls everywhere.