The gay coming-of-age story's been done, but "Pariah" has something fresh to say, largely about the knotty complexities of love, and how they might keep someone in the closet: How badly do you need to be free, to hurt the people you love?
John Anderson, Newsday, 2012-02-17
You don't have to be black or lesbian or even know someone who's gay to appreciate "Pariah"; you just have to have gone through or be going through the process of growing up.
Tom Long, Detroit News, 2012-01-20
"Pariah" is a small film about a big subject: the struggle to be who you are, not who others would like you to be.
Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2012-01-20
If the destination is trite, the journey isn't - it comes with an ample supply of raw honesty.
Rick Groen, Globe and Mail, 2012-01-13
Rees tells Alike's story in vignettes that are sometimes slapstick, sometimes heartbreaking, always tender.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2012-01-12
Especially rewarding about Oduye's performance is how she's able to portray that frustration while retaining hope and optimism.
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, 2012-01-12
Rees' script, peppered with colourful hip-hop argot, is smart and economical, with well-drawn characters, dialogue and situations that echo with authenticity.
Bruce Demara, Toronto Star, 2012-01-12
"Pariah" feels a lot like life, at its most confusing, contradictory and exhilarating.
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2012-01-06
Adepero Oduye is excellent as a Brooklyn teen coming to terms with her sexual identity in this gritty film
Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, 2012-01-05
The originality lies in the details, and the dramatic energy that sustains almost every scene.
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal, 2012-01-05
An eloquent, haunting coming-of-age/ coming-out tale...
Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times, 2012-01-05
"Pariah'' really feels like something rare.
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe, 2012-01-05
Rees packs a lot into a simple narrative, and only rarely overpacks.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2012-01-05
The film is an impressive debut for writer-director Dee Rees.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 2012-01-05
Pariah is a tender, sporadically goofy, yet candid examination of emergent identity.
Ella Taylor, NPR, 2012-01-04
In her fearless, world-here-I-am! debut Pariah, writer-director Dee Rees demonstrates, with simplicity and verve, that there's no substitute for authenticity.
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly, 2012-01-04
The filmmaking is often wayward, the scenes of confrontation sometimes too stagey, but Oduye is a marvelous young actress with a camera-ready face brimming with soulfulness.
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor, 2012-01-04
Rees brings a heartfelt connection to the material, based on her own coming-out story, but the film's ingredients aren't the freshest.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2012-01-22
The movie's point, which is impossible to miss, is that it's hard being black & gay in America and, while there's undoubtedly truth in that sentiment, it doesn't necessarily make for a compelling motion picture circa 2011.
James Berardinelli, ReelViews, 2012-01-02