Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Director: Lee Daniels
Year Released: 2009
Rating: 2.0

Punishing, relentless depiction of a tragic existence: young Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) is abused by her mother (Mo'Nique) and father, and she's overweight and illiterate, but finds some kind of refuge in an alternative school and her new teacher (Paula Patton). Eventually she becomes homeless and discovers she has AIDS. Though I'm positive this kind of situation exists in not simply America but the world, there's something tawdry and tactless about Daniels' approach, which is so devoted to rubbing your face with grime it becomes just one horror after another, almost to the point of exhaustion: someone saner would probably hang him or herself. Compounding the problem is the fact that it's a stark depiction of African-Americans in poverty, which reinforces pre-existing stereotypes and makes it seem like an acted-out version of trash daytime television. The concluding (and wrenching) final speech by Mo'Nique's character about her depraved boyfriend solidified her Oscar victory.