Sundance 2021: “Doublespeak”

Source: IMDB

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The statistic denoting women facing some form of sexual harassment while at work is quite large. Sadly, half of them, if not more, do not even file a complaint in fear of retribution.  And by the time they find the courage to report sexual misconduct, most do not believe it or choose not to.

Emma, after more than a year of waiting, reports the incidence of sexual harassment from her then-supervisor, Peter. Now she faces an investigator, Ben, a colleague and her direct manager. As she sits and waits for the conclusion of their a so-called investigation, the woman will be lost in words as she tries to figure out what else could have been done in order to corroborate her accusation, so the people sitting in front of her can believe her.

Written and directed by Hazel McKibbin and starring Angela Wong Carbone as Emma, “Doublespeak” perfectly captures why women prefer to keep acts of sexual harassment to themselves. However, it shows that if the abuser is not punished, he may gain wings and grow in self-confidence, almost as if he gets permission to continue his misconduct without the fear of being caught or prosecuted.

Emma is a young employee who at some point decides to put a full stop and have Peter face some kind of a penalty for his deeds. But it’s the interview process that will force her to rethink everything that happens to her as she realizes the help she was seeking to protect herself at the workplace did not arrive.

All of this is told within 10 minutes of this beautifully narrated short film that will leave you alone with your thoughts, as you continue getting mad even after the film is over. Because you will see the same thing Emma notices – there is no difference between a serial killer and a sexual harasser; they both feel empowered and smart enough to continue their vicious acts against humans after learning to hide in their own shadows.

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