& How to Watch Them:
Pariah (feature, 2011): An African-American teenager struggles with her identity as a butch lesbian. Contains everything you want from an indie movie -- heartache, bad moms, great cinematography, a dramatic turn from a Wayans sibling -- and then some.
Pariah (short, 2007): Like the feature but shorter.
Bessie (2015): Can you believe a biopic of Bessie Smith starring Queen Latifah didn’t exist until 2015? I know. It’s insane. Bonus: Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey.
Dear Dee Rees,
Of all the movies coming out this year, there isn't one I'm more excited about than Mudbound. And this is a year with no shortage of great movies. But none of the directors of these other films made Pariah, a movie I love so much you've earned an evergreen "take all my money" from me for every subsequent movie you make. When I first saw Pariah as a short film, I was floored. And when you turned it into a feature, I was... what's a word that means floored but times ten? If there's one thing I'm confident in, it's that I've watched every movie ever made about teenage lesbians, and Pariah is quite possibly the best of all of them. It's so spot on about both the highs and the lows of coming out that I'm pretty sure you somehow gained access to the diary of every baby gay who's ever baby gayed as you were writing it. And you directed your lead actress Adepero Oyude to a performance so good that Meryl Streep shouted her out at the Oscars just cause. Yeah, that Meryl Streep.
Then with Bessie, your HBO biopic about Bessie Smith, you showed that a movie that should've been made years ago was worth the wait. And you won a DGA award in the process. If all this wasn't enough to make me a lifetime fan of yours, your next movie post-Mudbound is a horror movie about the domestic lives of black lesbians in rural America. So again, take my money. All of it.