While coming-of-age dramas about gay teenagers are common enough (especially at film festivals), they're usually about boys, not girls. Your more lesbian-centric movies tend to be about adults. At least as far as American films go, anyway. (The Europeans are bigger on teenage lesbians.) And now that we've helped our Google rankings for the search terms "European teenage lesbians," let us discuss Dee Rees' 'Pariah,' which is indeed an American coming-of-age drama about a 17-year-old girl.
Her name is Alike (that's ah-LEE-kay), she is played by Adepero Oduye, and she is a virgin, though she seeks to change that status. Her best friend, Laura (Pernell Walker), a bold and sexually active lesbian, regularly takes her to a dance club in their Brooklyn neighborhood that caters to African American ladies, in the hopes that Alike will meet someone. The loud, aggressive atmosphere is intimidating to a newbie, though. Alike lives with her younger sister, Sharonda (Sahra Mallesse), and their parents, and has made only tentative steps toward coming out to any of them, at least officially. There is certainly some degree of awareness -- Alike dresses "butch"; some of the neighbors gossip -- but that awareness is accompanied by denial. Alike's mother, Audrey (Kim Wayans), buys her a girly blouse and tries to push her into being friends with a co-worker's wholesome daughter