OPENS: Friday 11/6
Mariah Carey soars in a small role in this drama -- yet hers is just one of many revelatory performances. The 1987- set story follows Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), an illiterate 16-year-old Harlem girl, pregnant for the second time with her father's child. She is also regularly pummeled by her deadbeat mother (an Oscar-worthy Mo' Nique). As Precious fights to get through each day, she finds two beacons of hope: an inspiring teacher (Paula Patton) and Carey's no nonsense social worker. The final showdown in her office may be the year’s most stirring scene.
-- BRADLEY JACOBS