"But how about being fat? Isn't it bad for her? Aren't any of these caring teachers going to mention heart disease, or talk to Precious about overeating as addiction, or as the symptom of abuse?" Really, Peter Bradshaw?
I'm not sure at what part Bradshaw wanted this heart to heart to happen. When she was ducking projectiles thrown by her abusive mother? Oh wait, I know - after she had the baby! Everyone needs a good kick in the pants to lose that baby weight - even abused, semi-literate teen mothers trying to improve their lives while struggling with HIV!
Bradshaw tries to mitigate the callousness of his words, but ultimately fails:
Well, the character is supposed to have been through sheer hell, and teachers and healthcare professionals in this situation might conceivably decide to ease off on the question of weight for a bit.
That beautiful, inspirational teacher of hers (who is naturally as thin as a rake) actually encourages Precious to eat some more when she is round at her comfortable, middle-class professional home – because she feels hungry!
Because "naturally," you can't be anything in life unless you've achieved the desired level of thinness.
Bradshaw's comments are also a thinly veiled swipe at Gabourey Sidibie - the actress is that size in real life, and yet she somehow manages to be an interesting person with a vibrant social life and career. Imagine that.
The Guardian also published an article on Precious from the perspective of a social worker, evaluating Mariah Carey's performance. Risthardh Hare, a London based social worker, explains:
I've had three cases that have been similar to Precious's. It's not unheard of. It's not a made up story to pull the heart strings. It happens now. [...]
I was cynical about how Hollywood was going to show social workers before I saw the film. However, unlike some of the British soap operas which seem to portray us as unemotional, Precious may give people a better understanding of what we are confronted with, the tough job that we have to do, and the fact that social workers do have feelings - even though in real life we have to keep them hidden.
It's a realistic portrayal in as much as you get an essence of what we feel and deal with in our everyday working lives.
It is sad and depressing that a social worker sees stories like the ones told in Push and Precious in their working lives.
Sadder still that others must live through them.
But the saddest thing of all is that people like Peter Bradshaw can only see a "raucous drama of African-American lowlife" in need of nutritional advice.
Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire [The Guardian]
Precious's story is not unique. It happens [The Guardian]