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Pariah (2011)

R | | Drama | 20 January 2011 (USA)
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2:05 | Trailer

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

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Writer:

15 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bina
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Arthur
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Sharonda
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Candace
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Mack (as Ray Anthony Thomas)
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Mika
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Mrs. Alvarado
Kim Sykes ...
Mrs. Singletary
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Sock
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Gina (a.k.a. Butch Woman)
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Bina's Boyfriend
Chanté Lewis ...
Fast Girl #1
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Parias  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$48,579 (USA) (30 December 2011)

Gross:

$758,099 (USA) (9 March 2012)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Mika: Yeah I like girls. But I LOVE boys.
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Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Echelon
Wtitten, arranged and performed by Carolyn Honeychild Coleman
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User Reviews

 
Her, you and me Alike
2 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

There are three things, Dee Rees told the audience of the 2011 Out In Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, that they shouldn't say in a pitch: "black", "lesbian" and "coming of age"; a true but problematic piece of advice. To suggest that a film about a young girl coming out is not just a gay film is equally awkward as it implies that the label is a negative one, which is only true if instant box-office and mass-appeal is an absolute priority. It's just that, in one way or another, the message should be conveyed that Rees's debut feature Pariah is a film about the essence of being.

Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a teenage Brooklyn girl who is struggling to live up to her mother's expectations while trying to figure out who she is. Certain about her sexual orientation, she's insecure about where she fits in as a young lesbian woman and a budding writer in search of her authentic voice. While the local gay club is offering some respite, she finds it difficult to identify both with the studs who throw money at strippers, and the femmes waiting to be picked up by the likes of her close friend Laura (Pernell Walker). And caught up between a controlling, disappointed and worried mother (Kim Wayans) and a disillusioned, tired and caring father (Charles Parnell), Alike, just like her parents and sister (Sahra Mellesse), is stuck in a suffocating web of lies that is keeping the fragile family unit from imploding, while preventing the family members from becoming all that they could be.

Dee Rees and her phenomenal cast don't shy away from complexity and contradiction. Too courageous and curious to surrender to stereotyping, and in possession of the sensibility and wisdom required to capture not just the extraordinary, Rees relies on nuance and small gestures to convey the fears of Alike's father, the archetypal man who is as gentle, loving and sensitive as he is dominating, as well as the qualms of her mother, who with piercing eyes and a sharp tongue observes and comments on Alike's journey.

"Who I am will always be part of my work." says Dee Rees, who hopes that one day her sexual orientation will be the premise of her stories, rather than the story. Pariah relates to blackness exactly like that; as a premise and not a defining condition and problem to be overcome, which is far from the only reason why Pariah is such an engaging and unique piece of well-written, well-directed and well-acted storytelling. One that speaks to anyone aspiring to or dreaming of reaching their full potential as human beings.

This and other movie reviews to be found on the blog "In the Words of Katarina"


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