HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Pariah One Of The Girls
Year: 2011
Director: Dee Rees
Stars: Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Aasha Davis, Pernell Walker, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mallesse, Shamika Cotton, Raymond Anthony Thomas, Afton Williamson, Zabryna Guevara, Kim Sykes, Rob Morgan, Nina Daniels, Jeremie Harris
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a seventeen-year-old high school student who has been hoping to pursue her interest in creative writing and take that interest to college after she graduates. But there is an inner life she has that is really only known to her best friend Laura (Pernell Walker), for they are both lesbians, it's just that Laura has ventured out of the closet, for better or worse - her mother, for one, has stopped speaking to her as a result and threw her out of the house. This experience makes Alike wary of talking plainly to her parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell), though her little sister has already twigged about Alike's gender...

Pariah was one of what became an avalanche of gay coming of age movies over the next few years, not that it was unique in 2011 when it was initially released, but it did seem to be at the forefront of a genre telling non-hetero kids that their feelings and emotions were perfectly fine and not to feel like a freak for cultivating them. Of course, plenty of those kids were able to come to terms with that with the help of their friends and families without the help of a bunch of well-meaning movies, but it seemed during this era that characters every type of person could identify with had grown in importance, and efforts like this were a big reason for that.

It was not sheer tokenism, either, as filmmakers were aware recognising yourself on the screen was a good way of snaring an audience, though the matter of whether you would give films a try if you did not recognise yourself was a thornier proposition, as watching something when the only question in your mind was "Why am I not in this?" could be a double-edged sword. Especially when that question did not necessarily apply to minorities in any major society, and the danger of marginalising these minority stories was ever-present, placing them firmly in a ghetto of their own devising that were preaching to the choir, intentionally or otherwise.

Where did that leave Pariah? The tale of a black teen lesbian may have sounded like a box-ticking exercise on paper, but if you were to give it a try, no matter your race or orientation, then you may be pleasantly surprised as Oduye (who was in her thirties at the time!) proved sympathetic in creating a personality you genuinely felt for when things don't work out fairly for Alike. Indeed, there are so many obstacles in the path to her happiness that it could leave you hankering after a gay movie that did not see fit to put their protagonists through so much heartache, and that this was a cliché we might be better leaving behind, or anyway adapting into a fresher set of plot points, which Pariah did not, particularly.

That title, for a start, indicated Alike was going to be put through a tough time as she forged her own existence, so not only did she meet opposition from her parents, with her mother suddenly turning deeply religious when it transpires her daughter prefers girls to boys, or the crush she actually loses her virginity to having an awkward reaction the morning after, but we are made aware of the wider community making life difficult for lesbians who refuse to conform to the overarching norms. Little wonder Alike is so guarded and reluctant to be frank about who she is inside with everyone in her life - even Laura grows standoffish when our heroine begins to bloom from out of her shadow, despite encouraging her to do so at the earlier stages of the narrative. What you were offered was a movie that may have been done to death in the years since, and could do with more acceptance for Alike to give us (or those like her) hope, but considering the slender means it was made on was quite an accomplishment. Yet Moonlight rather stole its thunder in the grander scheme of things.

[The Criterion Collection release this on Blu-ray with these features:

2K digital transfer, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New conversation between director Dee Rees and filmmaker and professor Michelle Parkerson
New cast reunion featuring Rees and actors Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis, moderated by film scholar Jacqueline Stewart
New program on the making of the film, featuring Rees, cinematographer Bradford Young, production designer Inbal Weinberg, producer Nekisa Cooper, and editor Mako Kamitsuna, moderated by Stewart
New interview with film scholar Kara Keeling, author of Queer Times, Black Futures
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Cassie da Costa.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 318 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: