Coming-of-age tale about a teenage lesbian's tentative steps out of the closet

By EW Staff
Updated December 26, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

Alike (newcomer Adepero Oduye), the 17-year-old Brooklyn high schooler at the heart of writer-director Dee Rees’ debut dramatic feature, can’t keep up the charade much longer. When she hangs with her boisterous friends, she’s a butch, do-rag-donning lesbian, but at home with her traditional parents, Alike is the conventional good student. ”She’s basically just juggling multiple identities and trying to figure out who she is,” Oduye explains. Pariah, an award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, explores the tenuous relationship between Alike and her disapproving mother (Kim Wayans), who can’t even understand why her daughter would want to wear baggy jeans. —Grady Smith

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