Pariah ★★★★★

This may well be the best debut feature I've seen since Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. Dee Rees brings us a semi-autbiographical story about Alike (brilliantly portrayed by Adepero Oduye), a young black lesbian struggling with her sexual identity.

Her religious mother (Kim Wayans, proving she can do drama just as well as comedy) tries to force her into being more feminine, but that just means that she lives a double life. She leaves the house wearing "Mom approved" clothes, changes when she gets to school. At 17, she's never been kissed. She understands her desires, but is terrified to act on them at the same time. When she does finally fall in love, it's with a girl who has sex with her, but then tells her "I'm not gay gay."

Bradford Young's cinematography is breathtaking. This is one of the best looking films I've seen in ages. Even though there was slight print damage to Reel 1 at the Regal Arbor, it cleared up quickly and I'm really glad I got to see this in 35mm. In a perfect world, Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans would be recognized for their fine acting here.

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