Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Review Of The Film Pariah

Two days ago I watched the film Pariah for the first time. I heard about the film months ago, but I ignored it because I thought it would be the same old stereotypical bullshit we always get when it comes to lesbians of color. The thing that finally made me sit down and watch it was the trailer of the film, which I came across on Youtube.

In the trailer Kim Wayans (member of the comic family: The Wayans...and who knew she could REALLY act???) says, "Your daughter is turning into a damn man right before your eyes." That statement caught my attention because it is EXTREMELY provocative. It literally stopped me in my tracks...

Pariah is a film about a young black lesbian who is coming to terms with her sexuality. The young woman is in high school. She lives in a household that is composed of a nuclear family (mother, father, siblings). While her parents ARE married, they aren't happily married. In fact, her father is having an affair.

The protagonist's mother is unbelievably aggressive, demanding and domineering. Her sister is boy crazy, but a typical younger sibling. Her father is somewhat passive aggressive at times, but he is very much the head of the household. The main character's best-friend is a stud, who tries to help her come to terms with her sexuality. 

In this film the protagonist slowly but surely comes to terms with her sexuality. She becomes interested in attracting a mate. She leaves home wearing feminine "girlish" clothes. When she arrives at school she changes into masculine "boyish" clothes. She asks her BFF (the stud) to get her a strap in a misguided effort to appear more aggressive to girls.

The protagonist eventually attracts a love interest, who ironically is introduced to her by her mother, who doesn't approve of her friendship with the stud. The protagonist's mother believes the new girl will make a better playmate for her daughter than the stud (note: the protagonist's mother is homophobic). 

At first the protagonist dislikes the girl. She dislikes her because she doesn't appreciate her mother picking her friends. The two of them soon grow close.

Funny enough, the protagonist doesn't make the first move. One day the girl leans over and kisses the protagonist. From that point on the two of them grow closer and eventually they sleep together. 

The morning after they sleep together, the girl blows the protagonist off, and tells her she was just experimenting (paraphrased). She makes it clear that their one night together was a one time thing. The protagonist leaves angry and heartbroken.

Later on that night the protagonist has it out with her mother (and her father), after she overhears them arguing. She tells her parents she is gay. Her mother physically attacks her. The protagonist leaves home and goes to live with her BFF (the stud).

My thoughts on the film...

  • The plot is good.
  • The acting is good. Kim Wayans gives a great performance.
  • I can actually somewhat relate to the story. I had my first sexual encounter with a woman while I was still in high school. That bitch turned out to be married. So, I can definitely understand how it feels to be deceived. 
  • I can relate the confrontation between the protagonist and her parents concerning her sexuality. Once again, I have experienced it myself.
  • I can relate to issues concerning self-doubt/self-esteem and a desire to attract a mate. I still experience this sometimes.
  • The characters were extremely stereotypical. Once again, we get to see a black lesbian who is portrayed as an unattractive stud (or tomboy...depending on whether she's around her mother or not). I'm not trying to be funny and I'm not trying to be mean. Once I set eyes on the protagonist my first thought was, "Damn they couldn't find a better looking girl than this? She looks like Celie from The Color Purple!"
You Sho Is Ugly!
    Look at that picture and tell me I'm lying!!!
  • The symbolism behind the scrap: The protagonist suffers from low self-esteem and low self-confidence. She overhears an attractive girl at her school talking about her. The attractive girl says she's cute (or something like that) but declares her "too soft." The girl admits that she likes aggression in the form of males (the attractive girl is neither gay nor bisexual). The protagonist associates aggression with having a dick. That's when she asked her stud friend to get her a scrap. She thinks it will help her attract the attractive girl. 
  • The situation with the girl she fucks: Instead of getting pissed off and kicking the trash cans outside the girl's building she should have punched the chick in her face! (Kidding...maybe). The producers missed out on a golden opportunity here. They could have given us a fairytale ending with the two girls walking off into the sunset together. Instead we get the same old dysfunctional bullshit involving a lying bicurious hussy. On one hand I appreciate art imitating life. On the other hand, I watch movies like this to escape life and reality. I don't need to be reminded that there are some heartless tricks in this world.
  • The protagonist's friends: They are all stereotypical thugged out studs and hoodrats. 
  • The title of this film seems inappropriate. When I think of a pariah I think of a criminal such as a sex offender, rapist, murderer, child abuser etc. A pariah to me is someone that has been shunned by society for some type of offense. While homosexuality is still frowned down upon by certain individuals in our society, I don't think the word pariah is the appropriate term to use.
Overall, I give this film a B.

If you want to view Pariah I found a pirated copy online....

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