Precious is a short and brilliant movie (based on the novel Push by Sapphire) about a young, obese girl in high school, a victim of sexual and physical abuse at home, who rises out of her personal hell to take control of the circumstances of her life - her repeated pregnancies from rape, her inability to learn in school, her choking life with an unrepentant and violent mother, her diminished self-hood and her repressed dreams of 'being a somebody'. The setting of the home is a powerful visual in the movie - her mother is someone who hasn't left the house for years and spends all her time in front of the television and its interminable programmes. The repeated scenes of Precious cooking for her mother and her mother suddenly turning uncontrollably violent without reason, hurling vases and pots at her, are stirring. Also disturbing are the early scenes from the alternative school that she joins, where most of the attendees are almost functionally illiterate despite being eighteen or nineteen and, as in some cases, being teenage mothers. But it lifts from there, as Precious' circle of friends in this classroom, including the stunningly receptive teacher, become her mainstay - a wildly witty and irreverent group of girls. Sad, indeterminate ending. Great movie.
Lots of reviewers complained about it portraying 'black people in a poor light'. I don't understand this need for political correctness. The racism expressed in the movie, for example, by the black mother in her attitude to white people, or the poverty, or the incest and violence, or the high incidence of HIV (black women constitute the largest section of positive people in America), are all depictions of somebody's truth (Sapphire's, the director's, etc.). I had much rather know the inherent violence in the system than gloss it over in affirmative action movies.