Best movies: Pariah (2011)

One of the unfortunate sleepers during last year’s awards season hoopla, Pariah, a powerful look at a teenage girl’s (Adepero Oduye) struggles with coming out of the closet and declaring her homosexuality to her uptight mother, ranked high on several critics “Best of 2011” lists. Sadly, it was nowhere to be seen amongst the bigger awards show nominations.

Which makes first-time filmmaker Dee Rees’ tremendous debut all the more worthy of after-the-fact respect. It’s the kind of eye-opening, emotionally raw work that leaves viewers both floored and excited to see what else its maker has to offer. And hopefully, next time, the nominating powers that be don’t mess up again.