Patton's big break came in 2006 when she landed the pivotal female lead role of Claire Kuchever in the science fiction thriller Déjà Vu alongside Denzel Washington. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office hit, grossing over US$180 million worldwide. She also appeared in her then-husband Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You" video in 2006. In 2008, Patton played television reporter Kate Madison in the comedy-drama Swing Vote alongside Kevin Costner and Amy Carson, the wife of Ben (Kiefer Sutherland) in the supernatural horror film Mirrors. In Lee Daniels' critically acclaimed drama film Precious (2009), she played Ms. Blu Rain, a teacher at the alternative high school in Harlem, New York, who teaches and mentors disadvantaged students, including the titular character, Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe). She later co-starred as Queen Latifah's character's god-sister in the romantic comedy Just Wright (2010).