On DVD: Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire

The awkwardly-titled Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire is one of the most lauded films of 2009, nominated for six Oscars, all in "major" categories (including Best Picture). It is a portrait of urban life that pulls no punches, detailing elements of our society often considered unmentionable in mainstream films - abuse, incest, disease, and other plagues related to poverty - sometimes hinted at but rarely depicted in the fearless, straightforward manner of Precious. The value of the film lies with this courage, and with that of its actors. For all this, however, Precious can't help but feel like a really rough after-school special - a movie about social problems and a denigrated inner-city heroine who ultimately finds redemption. While the plot and subject matter may ring true, the themes, unfortunately, are trite, and despite the best efforts of a talented cast, the film doesn't rise above them.

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