Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Early on in Dee Rees' Pariah, we get a glimpse into the kind of person Alike (Adepero Oduye) is. She prefers masculine outfits over the more feminine ones her mother Audrey (Kim Wayans) chooses for her. This is possibly because Alike's not entirely comfortable with her sexual identity as a lesbian. (She hasn't told her parents yet.)

Indeed, Alike doesn't get along with her mother very well, mostly over Alike's association with Laura (Pernell Walker), whom Audrey thinks is a bad influence on her daughter. (She really isn't in all honesty.)

It isn't long before Bina (Aasha Davis) walks onto the scene. Alike hopes that Bina is the girl she's looking for. But the further she gets into a possible relationship, the more likely Alike will come out to her parents...whether she wants to or not.

As with most films, you wonder what the meaning of the film's title is. The explanation for Pariah is a heartbreaking one. Unfortunately for a number of people in the gay community, their families would more or less disown them and consider them worthless human beings if they were to come out. Laura is viewed this way by her mother (and Audrey to an extent). It's doesn't particularly end well for Alike either.

Pariah takes the standard coming out story and gives it a more emotionally supportive nature. (Not as angst-ridden as some other films of a similar nature.) Oduye and Wayans bring most of the heft of the film, the rest is from Rees' script. This is an emotionally raw film, so watch it with caution.

My Rating: *****

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