There's a motto you learn in screenwriting school: "If it's personal, it's universal." Human experiences transcend race, gender, geographical borders. And Pariah, the excellent (heartbreaking, heartwarming, highly-recommended) film written and directed by Dee Rees, might be about a young black girl growing up in Brooklyn and struggling with her feelings, but it's not a movie for African-Americans, or gays, or New Yorkers. It's for everyone. The problem? It's being described as the "new lesbian film" or "a movie about black lesbians." The reality is that the film deals with internal conflict, family drama, friendship and defining yourself.
Dee Rees tells Women And Hollywood:
People on the surface looked at this as a black-gay film. No matter how much we said it was about identity, about being yourself, about coming of age... I think people can be kind of myopic in terms of material.
Interview with Dee Rees - Writer and Director of Pariah [Women And Hollywood]
Interview with Adepero Oduye star of Pariah [Women And Hollywood]
Identity, Discovery and ‘Pariah' [NY Times]