It was made in 2011 by Director Dee Rees. She had made a short movie on the same character and subject in 2007. Because that short film of 28 minutes won 8 international awards Dee Rees got inspired to make it a full length feature film. It took 4 years to get to the finish line to release the movie - the finances, the actors, the longer scripts and the rehearsals under tight budgetary constraints.
But in the end, what we see is a beautiful coming to age film of a young teenage girl Alike (played fabulously by stunning beautiful Adepero Oduye - her first break) who evolves to find her sexuality and heart break within a dis-functional family (any surprises there?) with a religious strict Catholic mother Audrey (played to perfection by Kim Wayans)
Audrey is a regular caring mother who is unhappy and scared about her daughter Alike's behavior as a tom-boy and about Alike's friend, thus she introduces Alike to one of her colleagues daughter - who invariably initiates Alike into a same-sex love and turns her down breaking Alike's heart into pieces.
But with this experience Alike realizes her sexuality and during a confrontation with her parents - she declares "I am a lesbian" to the utter dis-belief of Audrey who beats her up.
Alike leaves the house forever and joins a English literature program - breaking free and finding LOVE.
Director Dee Rees who has written and directed this movie has worked very hard and it shows in every frame on the screen.
The scenes are so well written that start at a point and lead to a final conclusion that takes the movie forward while introducing each character traits to fill in the gaps of the journey of Alike.
No wonder the film bagged 15 international awards and 28 nominations in various categories - mainly director, actress (in main lead) and actress in supporting role and best movie.
I do not like the movies with hand-held camera - but Dee Ree and her editor has done a brilliant job in cutting and editing the pieces with smoothness.
The atmosphere of New York's black downtown area is taken superbly with the spaces in school and evening hang outs in clubs reflecting the real culture of new millennium teenagers.
The cinematography and music are excellent.
Watching Pariah today gives us the glimpse of coming to age of Hollywood cinema - which I am sure laid path to another gem of a movie Moonlight (coming to age boy's movie on gay subject) to win best movie Oscar at 2017 Academy Awards.
I would highly recommend this movie for everyone who is sensitive to the LGBTQREI group. Take a few tissues - it is a emotionally powerful tear-jerker.
We can't resist to be part of the journey of each characters and their flaws and still LOVE them... SUPERB.
My rating for the movie is 7.25 out of 10
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