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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Graves, Jen
Date published: January 18, 2012


Pariah is a freaking miracle. It's a subtle, totally nonobjectifying film about the coming out of an African American teenage lesbian, starring the magical Adepero Oduye (this year's best actress, regardless of what the Oscars say), written and directed by first-timer Dee Rees. Oduye's character Alike (ah-LEE-kay) is smart, and so are the blows that hit her: The homophobes are not always who you think they will be. Her story starts with an Audre Lorde quote and a spread-eagled woman upside down on a pole, and rides through first heartbreak and family dinners from hell (her mother played with stony rage by Kim Wayans) with a killer Afropunk soundtrack providing the gender-deconstructing background. (JEN GRAVES)

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