Pariah is the finest coming-of-age movie to find its way into theaters in years. The story, or at least a portion of it, is inspired by writer and director Dee Rees's own. But Pariah is not autobiographical, and it's the better for it. Under the protective umbrella of fiction, Rees explores all sorts of conflict removed from her own life -- domestic violence, especially. And that's the brilliance of Pariah; it turns a gay-friendly movie into a story about identity. Anyone who had difficult teenage years -- which, let's face it, means everybody -- can relate to Alike (Adepero Oduye), can see a reflection of themselves in her wet, sad eyes. Rees balances Oduye's careful act with gorgeous camerawork, shooting behind corners and framing characters between everyday props to ground each scene in an urban reality. And when coupled with the cast's stellar acting, Pariah delivers that message with such unrelenting clarity that it's hard not to be impressed. Now playing. Landmark's E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com. (Chris Heller)
Read the full review here.
Get Spotlight in your inbox. Join our mailing list.