Movie of the Week: ‘Pariah’

Dee Rees’ (“Mudbound” (2017)) engaging feature film debut visits Alike (Adepero Oduye), a straight-A student who fails to communicate with her parents about her sexuality.  This frank drama is one of our favorite films of 2011…and is our movie of the week!

“Pariah” (2011) – “Whenever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs.” – Audre Lorde.   These words open writer/director Dee Rees’ (“Mudbound” (2017)) insightful picture, and over the course of the 86-minute runtime, Alike (Adepero Oduye) tries to find that elusive footing.  Frustrated, she feels trapped between expressing her sexuality and coming out to her loving –  but traditional – parents, Audrey (Kim Wayans) and Arthur (Charles Parnell).  Set in New York City, Alike – a straight-A student – gives her folks no problems with her schoolwork, but she routinely breaks curfew and refuses to wear dresses and girlish clothes that her mom picks out.  Audrey and Arthur suspect/know the truth, but spoken candor is in short supply.  Rees offers plenty of tense family drama in close spaces in the big city, while Oduye’s portrayal of Alike’s brave, uncertain flight soars with authenticity.

⭐⭐⭐ 1/2  out of  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image credits: Focus Features; Trailer credits: Movieclips Trailers

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