Pariah is about Alike, a seventeen year old African American lesbian trying to navigate her way in the world.

Alike gets dressed for school in mother-approved wardrobe. Once at school, she ducks quickly into the bathroom and changes into a more tomboyish outfit. Still, her parents suspect. Her father is more than happy to ignore it. Her mother’s response is to force Alike to spend time with a wholesome, church going girl instead of her ‘out’ best friend, Laura.

Laura also serves as Alike’s guide to a very limited slice of Afr-Am lesbian life–the club scene, the hang out spots, the hunt for her first girlfriend. Alike doesn’t feel 100% at home here either.

Alike needs to find a way to be herself because being what other people want/expect isn’t working…

The Good
*I definitely saw elements of my own coming out/venturing into the black lesbian world in Alike’s story. For a few minutes, I had flashbacks to catching the bus home after seeing dancers at Club Bunns.

*Since it’s Alike’s story, you expect her to be a fully fleshed out character–and she was. The pleasant surprise for me was that none of the main players were flat stereotype/stock characters. For example, Audrey (the mother) could have easily been a caricature but Kim Wayans portrays her as a woman who has been bitter/unhappy for a number of years. Alike’s sexuality is an issue that she can focus on to avoid her other problems.

The Great
-Seeing characters that I can identify with on the big screen.

The Bad
(insert sound of crickets chirping here)

Bottom Line: Great movie. Go see it.

Published by Tawanna

Sometimes writer, most times editor. Lover of mysteries and 70s/80s horror movies. Author of The Next Girl (short story collection) and The Closet Case (mystery).

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