Pariah: It’s not surprising that this spirited first feature by American director Dee Rees made a splash at Sundance, where it won an award for cinematography. Filmed as candy-coloured, hot-blooded verité, Pariah is about a resilient 17-year-old girl in Brooklyn (Adepero Oduye) who is struggling to come out as a lesbian. Oduye gives a beautifully nuanced performance on this coming-of-age roller-coaster that takes her through high school, clubland and family melodrama . The heroine’s harshly conservative parents (Kim Wayans and Charles Parnell), who marriage hides its own closet intrigue, are dimensional, not demonized. Despite an earnest agenda of sexual liberation, Pariah steers clear of stereotypes, sparking with humour and pathos as it rockets toward emotional truth.

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