You do not stand up and cheer when Precious finally reaches its end credits. You sit in your chair and reflect in horror and awe that a human being can endure so much inhumanity and yet retain her dignity.
The film ends with a revelatory confession so revolting, you may want to take a shower when you get home. Mo'nique, playing the confessor in this scene, truly gives one of the most transformative performances in the history of cinema. Her previous comedic work cast her as an extremely likable, comforting persona; her role here as the titular protagonist's mother is anything but. What a protagonist the film has, though. Precious, pregnant for a second time with her father's child, overweight, uneducated, and completely broken is played so deftly by first time actress, Gabby Sidibe, the almost so-desperate-as-to-seem-unreal circumstances in the film seem as real as anything. Every other performance in the film is either solid or great, including a turn by Mariah Carey as a sympathetic social worker that has to be seen to be believed.
Despite all this, I am still hesistant to recommend the film. It is a great work of art, but the depths it plumbs are not for the weakhearted or weakstomached, and to be honest, I do not think I could sit through it again.