Pariah is such a decent film it is a shame that its title seems designed to keep people away. The “P” word title is too close to Precious, the abomination that set-back the recent cultural progress.
In Pariah, debut writer-director Dee Rees tells a coming-of-age story rooted in the family and social customs of black Americans, but its lead character, Alike (charmingly portrayed by Adepero Oduye) lives a universal story. Alike is a teenager lesbian who has difficulty making her sexual awakening compatible with her strict family life. She alternates two worlds: the teen dyke subculture and the boundaries of her home life with a policeman father and socially-obsessed mother.
Alike’s on the verge of romantic access, the state of expectancy too often overlooked in an era that programs kids to become immediately sexually active. (Blame Madison Avenue and its flip side, Hollywood/ MTV.) Choosing realism as a storytelling mode, Rees introduces an exotic subculture of tough, physically thick girls alongside the conventional high school girls and daddy’s pets.
To read the rest of Armond White’s review, head to City Arts...
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