Pariah feels so authentic in its acting and grounded in its storytelling that it's almost realistic to a fault. The story may feel predictable because the drama and emotion doesn't quite shake you up as much as the more dramatic renderings of the story could do when they amplify the realism with more extreme consequences of the situation. Yet, it's honorable and smart because it feels earthbound, not fictional.
a multifaceted look at a young black woman dealing with her sexuality that avoids all the stereotypical trappings of "issue movie" melodrama, and features a half-dozen astounding performances (omg kim wayans!)... "pariah" dives deep into the social dynamics of homophobia, through the eyes of the protagonist's parents as they struggle with their own beliefs, shortcomings and external pressures. truly excellent.
TIFF '11 The main reason to see this one is the knockout performance by Adepero Oduye as our protoganist. Not often has a performance seemed so raw and earnest. A young girl not cut out for her mother's expectations or her fathers' inability to see the truth as she discovers that her sexual attractions are not condoned. Excellent calling card for director Dee Rees who I think we can expect great things from.
A tender exploration of an underdocumented aspect of the modern queer experiment, "Pariah" is nevertheless unable to avoid some of the predictable traps of much queer cinema. Competently acted and narratively focused in the beginning, it quickly gets somewhat lost between a tender-hearted coming out story and a domestic drama riddled with cliched, one-note characterizations.
Writer-director Dee Rees expands her short film into a feature with most of the same cast and produces great results in this touching, at times heartbreaking coming-of-age story that may be specific in its details but is universal in terms of its emotional resonance and recognition. http://eddieonfilm.blogspot.com/2011/02/not-straight-out-of-brooklyn.html