January 3, 2011 0 By Fans
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Still of Kim Wayans and Adepero Oduye in PariahStill of Adepero Oduye and Aasha Davis in PariahNekisa Cooper and Dee Rees at event of PariahStill of Kim Wayans and Adepero Oduye in PariahStill of Kim Wayans in PariahPariah


A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.0/10 (496 voted)

Critic's Score: 79/100

Dee Rees

Stars: Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Aasha Davis

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.


Adepero Oduye


Pernell Walker


Aasha Davis


Charles Parnell


Sahra Mellesse


Kim Wayans


Shamika Cotton


Raymond Anthony Thomas


(as Ray Anthony Thomas)

Afton Williamson


Zabryna Guevara

Mrs. Alvarado

Kim Sykes

Mrs. Singletary

Rob Morgan


Nina Daniels

Gina (a.k.a. Butch Woman)

Jeremie Harris

Bina's Boyfriend

Chanté Lewis

Fast Girl #1

Who do you become when you can't be yourself?


Official Website:
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Release Date: 3 Jan 2011

Filming Locations: Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA

Opening Weekend: $48,579
(1 January 2012)
(4 Screens)

Gross: $692,615
(19 February 2012)

Technical Specs




Yeah I like girls. But I LOVE boys.

User Review

A collection of great debuts


Newcomer Adepero Oduye plays Alike (Le for short), a seventeen-year old
high-schooler living in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. She's
smart and creative, much to the approval of her parents; but to their
dismay, unbeknownst to them (or due to their unwillingness to accept
and/or approve), she's also a lesbian with a masculine persona, or
simply a Pariah.

Alike lives with her much more girly sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse)
and parents. Kim Wayans, best down for her broad comic
characterizations from the 1990's In Living Color, shows off her
dramatic chops as Alike's mother Audrey, a Christian-valued matriarch
who doesn't have so much an agenda, but an affliction. She wants the
best for her daughters, but her religious subscription limits her
ability to love her eldest daughter completely. Unlike most black men
in films about black women, Alike's father Arthur (a stalwart, yet
relaxed Charles Parnell) doesn't always have his daughter's (or wife's)
best intentions in mind, but he's neither shiftless, emasculated,
physically abusive or non-existent as is every man in The Color Purple
and the like.

In an ironic twist, Audrey introduces Alike to the daughter of a
coworker, in hopes of steering her away from the butch influence of her
best friend Laura (a cool, thoughtful Pernell Walker). Though her time
with Bina (Aasha Davis) assumes a predictable route, it doesn't end as
one might expect. To boot, the magnetic personalities of the characters
are sufficient enough to make the trip worth it. As well, their shared
love of alternative music provides one of the best film soundtracks in
quite some time.

In the film's social environment, women who dress as men and love other
women are considered pariahs. Feminine lesbians don't fare much better,
but they, as well as others, view themselves as bisexuals who are going
through a phase. They are not a threat, because of their
non-confrontational gender qualities and the belief is that they'll
eventually assume a more traditional place in society. It's one of the
many conundrums that test Alike and help her become a stronger and
better person, as well as writer.

The inevitable confrontation scene between Alike and her folks arrives
unannounced without much of a consistent buildup. Yet, steering away
from cheap sentimentality, it also avoids any hints of condensation.
There are no martyrs or villains, only fully rounded characters.

It's difficult not to compare Pariah to the recent Precious, as there
are so few films made about African-American women. Lee Daniel's
popular directorial effort was dark, gritty and pulled no punches. And
while it over-indulged in a broad range of emotions, it saved face with
its sharp social commentary. However, along with the newly released The
Help, one had to wonder if the best the marketplace had to offer in
intelligent fare about black women is located at the lower rungs of
society. It's not that those films are unacceptable and not to be
appreciated, but the ghettoization gets to be monotonous.

That being said, Pariah's setting doesn't necessarily break the cycle,
but it's a fine example of compelling storytelling. Directer Dee Rees
is an exciting new filmmaker with great promise. Moving beyond her
personalized debut, I stand in anticipation of where she will go from