How do we define ourselves? Dee Rees, for instance, could call herself many things: a writer, director and poet, among them. Her first feature-length film, Pariah, received critical acclaim at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and opens in theaters on December 28. It follows the story of 17-year-old Alike, who has quietly embraced her identity as a lesbian and whose crux is not so much who she is but how to be who she is.
Rees takes Elvis through the rich and varied path of her own identity formation, from being teased in grammar school to her first experience at a gay club, as well as how her rich and formidable approach has resulted in one of the best feature directorial debuts of the year.