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79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

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  • Summary: Adepero Oduye, who had earlier starred in the short film, portrays Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur and younger sister Sharonda in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. She has a flair for poetry, and is a good student at her local high school.
    Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura, Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents’ marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike’s development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague’s daughter, Bina, Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity – sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward. (Focus Features)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jan 6, 2012
    100
    This invigoratingly fresh, optimistic film - which features the breathtaking debuts of director Dee Rees and leading lady Adepero Oduye - plunges the audience into a world that's both tough and tender, vivid and grim, drenched in poetry and music and pain and discovery.
  2. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 11, 2012
    89
    Yes, it's a coming-out film, but it breaks that mold by being thoroughly unpredictable. It's a coming-of-age film, too, and by virtue of of telling the story of a young, black lesbian, Pariah also ventures into novel territory for a motion picture.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 4, 2012
    88
    So what we're seeing here is the emergence of a promising writer-director, an actor and a cinematographer who are all exciting, and have cared to make a film that seeks helpful truths.
  4. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Dec 28, 2011
    80
    Pariah wouldn't work without Oduye's luminous performance, capturing the emotional nuances of a character not prone to letting her emotions show.
  5. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jan 5, 2012
    75
    This is a movie that feels in all its vividness, specificity, and honesty - and in its amateurish screenwriting, too - like something found from the early- to mid-1990s, when American independent moviemaking encouraged far more conversations about the sexuality of young, brown girls in movies like "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.'' and "I Like It Like That.''
  6. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Dec 29, 2011
    70
    Pariah should be a special, important film for gay teens and their parents.
  7. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Dec 20, 2011
    60
    Establishing character, conflict and environment with astounding economy in the film's first ten minutes, Rees demonstrates the sort of filmmaking chops and personal storytelling (the director claims she drew on her own coming-out experience) that suggests the low-key epiphanies of Amerindie cinema at its best.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Apr 21, 2012
    10
    Every character seems ripped out of real life. None of them do the things that movie characters are supposed to do. And it adds up to a very authentic feeling story, that makes its point without ever forcing the issue, or resorting to sentimentality. Loved this movie. Expand
  2. Jan 22, 2012
    9
    Adepero Oduye is wonderful as Alike, and the rest of the cast is wonderful as well. A good coming out story. You would think that gays and lesbians would be accepted by their parents in this day and age, but we are apparently still a long way off. This movie has been done before many times with gay males, it was refreshing to see the lesbian version from a black family of intelligent, yet dysfunctional people. Although it is mostly drama, there are humorous scenes as well. Collapse
  3. Jan 2, 2012
    7
    Adepero Oduye portrays Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell) and younger sister Sharonda (Sahra Mellesse) in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood. Alike is quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian. With the sometimes boisterous support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), Alike is especially eager to find a girlfriend. At home, her parents' marriage is strained and there is further tension in the household whenever Alike's development becomes a topic of discussion. Pressed by her mother into making the acquaintance of a colleague's daughter, Bina (Aasha Davis), Alike finds Bina to be unexpectedly refreshing to socialize with. Wondering how much she can confide in her family, Alike strives to get through adolescence with grace, humor, and tenacity - sometimes succeeding, sometimes not, but always moving forward. Expand

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