The first 10 minutes of Dee Rees's funny, moving, nuanced, and impeccably acted first feature, in which coming of age and coming out are inseparable, sharply reveal the conflicts that 17-year-old Alike (Adepero Oduye) faces. At a lesbian club—maybe for the first time—she gapes in awe and no small amount of terror at the raunchy pole dancer grinding to an even raunchier song (Khia's "My Neck, My Back"). Sitting on a banquette, the teenager watches as femmes and butches (or AGs, for "aggressives"), including her swaggering best friend, Laura (Pernell Walker), pair off. But the straight-A student, hoping to find a girlfriend or at least someone to kiss, grows more concerned about making it home before curfew. On the bus back to her Fort Greene residence, Alike takes off her club outfit of an oversize boy's polo shirt, a 'do-rag, and a baseball cap, switching to a light-pink scoop-neck shirt with "angel" written in gold sequins, affixing earrings, and pulling her braids back into a bun. After we see the large crucifix in the her house and meet her mother, Audrey (Kim Wayans), who compliments Alike on her girly top before reprimanding her for her friendship with Laura ("I don't like that young lady that you run around with"), the reason for the quick... More >>>
Kim Wayans and Adepero Oduye as
mother and daughter in Pariah.