Pariah (2011)

  • Drama
  • 1h 26m
  • USA

Expanded from an award-winning short into a feature that scooped up even more honours (including the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards), the debut feature by Oscar nominee Dee Rees (Mudbound) is a true revelation. Adepero Oduye (12 Years a Slave, The Big Short) delivers a breakout performance as Alike, a young Brooklynite whose growing attraction to women puts her in conflict with her church-going mother (Kim Wayans), although her police-officer father (Charles Parnell) appears more accepting. Rees tells Alike’s story from the inside out, capturing the nuance and complexity of her protagonist’s choices as Alike finds and claims her identity: what she wears, where she goes, and not only whom, but also how she loves. First-time feature-film D.P. Bradford Young won Sundance’s Best Cinematography prize for his rich, attentive images, launching a promising career that has seen him shoot such diverse projects as Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, and 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story.


Dee Rees