bigcatthetall’s review published on Letterboxd:
Moonlight better watch its back because Pariah’s coming with a lawsuit in hand.
If neon-lit, hyper-realist LGBT dramas are the wave of the future, then sign me the fuck up because this was absolutely fantastic. For this to look as good as it does on a half a million dollar budget, neon-soaked and all, is astounding, thanks in large part to the rightfully acclaimed work of cinematographer Bradford Powers, production designer Inbal Weinberg, and editor Mako Kamitsuna. But make no mistake, this is Dee Rees’ show and the tightrope walk she performs here left me floored; I thought for sure this film would veer into melodrama at multiple points, but Rees’ poetic yet grounded writing and assured direction keep the film on its course, navigating it through potentially troublesome waters. That’s not to say it’s perfect - its handheld camerawork occasionally went too handheld and choppy for my tastes and it could’ve benefited from an extra ten or so minutes to flesh out some character relationships - but the fact that I’m even mentioning perfection in this review gives you a good idea of how damn great this film is. Check it out if you haven’t, it’s on Netflix just waiting to be discovered.