‘Precious’ the movie divides black audiences

Long before it opened, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" had racked up plaudits for its groundbreaking depiction of the inner life of a black, overweight, ghetto-dwelling teenage girl. But since its release, a story-outside-the-story has developed that's equally fresh and complicated: black people's reaction to the movie and what it means.

Verdicts about high-pitched movies from black viewers and public figures are usually swift and decisive -- "Do the Right Thing," "The Color Purple," and the recent Robert Downey Jr. performance in "Tropic Thunder" come to mind. But that's not what happened this time out. That's partly because the embrace of "Precious" by the white film establishment has been a bit disorienting for black folk, even off-putting. But it's also because the tough stuff in "Precious," whether you like the movie or not, is striking chords of recognition for many black people that are making them not angry or enthusiastic, but uncertain. That's new territory.

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