I watch a lot of TV these days. A lot a lot. But I’ll freely admit that movies are my first love. Something about sitting in the dark with strangers makes for a singular experience that can never be replicated on the comfort of your couch. But the other thing I’ll freely admit is I’ve seen a lot better TV lately than I have movies. Last year in particular was a bit of a movie bust for me. I saw a handful I liked and everything else – meh.
Then, finally, I saw one that made me say wow. Granted, I saw it this year. But it came out last year. And I’ve wanted to see it for what seems like forever. And that movie is “Pariah.” You’ve probably heard about it too, and if you’re lucky you’ve had a chance to see it for yourself. It’s a lovely slice of filmmaking – really everything you want from a movie. Insightful. Emotional. Beautiful. Truthful.
This striking first feature from writer-director Dee Rees takes a small story and makes it universally felt. Because we have all felt like Alike. We have all felt like an outsider. We have all felt like a stranger in our own skin. We have all felt like we could not be our true selves – if only for a moment. But for Alike, played by the wonderfully expressive Adepero Oduye, that feeling is more than a moment. It is her home. And in her portrayal we can see, through unblinking eyes, how hard it can be to bit is to be rejected for just being who you are. Yet also the courage it takes to choose your own happiness.
We may not all come from the same background as Alike. We may all have different paths through life. But we all want to be ourselves, whatever that may be. And we hope that the wider world will not only allow it, but embrace who we are. We want to say yes our truth, because our truth is all we are. We are not broken, we are free. Happy weekend, all.