Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Evil Editor’s Movie Reviews

By Valerie Mann

Before I get started, I’ll admit right up front I have a major addiction to going to the movies. Since my husband and I both work from home, getting out of the house to have some alone time is critical to my sanity and continuing to like my husband on a regular basis. Give me a dark theater for two hours, some smuggled candy and soda, and I’m a happy camper with recharged batteries.

I adore indie movies. Subtitles don’t bother me in the least. Foreign films are the bomb. Feeding my addiction are several theaters near my home that serve up a plethora of indie movies, including one that has at least two Bollywood movies at any given time. Don’t like Bollywood yet? You will when I get done reviewing a couple. They crack me up.


Today I saw Pariah. A Sundance Film Festival selection last year, it deals with a high school student, Alike (“Lee”), coming of age and finding the courage to deal with her lesbianism and her family's response to it. Her church-going, rigid mother (played by Kim Wayans, an amazing actress) and her police office father are both at different levels of denial about their daughter’s sexual identity, neither admitting it, both suspecting it, and most definitely fearing it. 

Without going into too many details, I will tell you what I didn’t like about this movie. As an evil editor, I look at plot carefully, and an ending has to satisfy me. The plot was predictable and exactly what I expected Alike would face when she comes out of the closet to face her closed minded parents. Then again, there are probably only two things that could happen—mom and dad deal—or they don’t. And some may argue with me that the ending was just okay, but the journey to get there was worth it, so the lack of imagination was forgivable.

What I liked about Pariah—Lee was never ashamed of her sexuality. Though facing rejection and fear, she never denied being a lesbian. She did hide it, as much to prevent her parents and sister from hurt, as she did to avoid dealing with their rejection. But there was never a time when she tried to pretend to herself that she was not gay. Another refreshing detail I appreciated was that the movie wasn’t geared toward Lee’s relationship with her straight classmates, but rather centered around the relationship with her family. The different ways they dealt with her coming out was predictable as well, but realistic.

The acting was very good, very realistic, without being over-dramatic. A serious topic was handled with care and sensitivity. Sexuality was integral in the movie, sex was not. 
My rating: B
Recommendation: Worth seeing if you can find it showing near you. Or rent it. 


Anthology Authors said...

One thing I like about indie movies (well, true indie movies) is that they push the envelope. While this one doesn't, at least not for American audiences, it's still interesting to visit a different culture and to see how close we really are.

Sounds like an interesting movie. Living in LA, I might be able to find it. Then again, it could have passed through here a long time ago, or never made it. (g)

Jaime Samms said...

Looks like a decent movie, Val. I like the point that however the people around her act, the main character never doubts herself.

Faith said...

The only indie movie I've ever seen was on the IFC. It was great! Can't recall the title, but it involved to young Indian lovers whose families were keeping them apart. He died by having his head crushed by an elephant standing on it. The ending was horrifying and so sad, but the movie was truly a good one.