This movie was a breath of fresh air. It hasn't been released yet but I got see it today and I'm going to pimp it to death until it's released.
Finally, a movie about LGTB youth of color. Finally, a movie that shows the afro-punk and underground black rock culture. Finally, a movie about how difficult it is to come out in a homophobic Christian black home. This movie was powerful, the characters were complex, no one was a walking stereotype, and it managed to balance angst with humor. Now how to summarize it without giving too much away....
Well, basically, it's about a black girl named Alike, who is going through an gender and sexual identity transformation. She's trying to please everyone, being as 'girl-like' as possible for her mother, and being as boyish as she can for the ladies she wants to attract (or is it for herself? That's not really clear). Either way, it's not working out too well; people are starting to catch on that she may be gay. So when a new gay bar opens up in town, the real trouble starts. She starts sneaking out to with a very butch and out-of-the-closet friend, and becoming more curious about exploring all of the facets of her identity. Her mother is basically a fundamentalist Christian, while her father is a agnostic cop. It starts to get complicated when her mother tries to force her to be more 'lady like' and make arrangements for her to hang out with a fellow church friend's 'respectable' daughter. It doesn't quite work out like the mom planned, and it doesn't work out like Alike expected it to either.
What's cool about this movie is that it shows how cultural and religious expectations intersect in a way to marginalize people in their own communities. It also shows how people can try to hold onto things so tightly that they end up breaking the very thing they're afraid of losing, or driving it away completely. The acting was really fantastic, the dialog was very realistically funny and uncomfortable at times, and the music was perfect. I also really liked how they used alternative music to show a different side of black culture that you rarely see in mainstream media. In some ways I think it was symbolic of the film's message about liberation and taking a different path. I won't give away the ending but we walked away from this one feeling uplifted. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.