Doublespeak – Review/Summary (with Spoilers)

Poster - Doublespeak

In Doublespeak, you are sorely reminded how Human Resources is more focused on protecting the company’s assets than your dignity or sense of safety.

In Doublespeak, you are sorely reminded how Human Resources is more focused on protecting the company’s assets than your dignity or sense of safety.

Director(s) Hazel McKibbin
Screenplay By Hazel McKibbin
Date Released (Sundance Film Festival) 1/28/2021
Genre(s) Drama, Young Adult
Duration 10 Minutes
Rating Not Rated
Noted Cast
Emma Angela Wong Carbone
Peter Frank Lewallen

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text may contain affiliate links, which, if a purchase is made, we’ll earn money or products from the company.

Film Summary

After more than a year of being harassed, Emma goes to Human Resources in hopes something can be done about a Senior Editor named Peter.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: There isn’t anything explicit here, and being that HR keeps things PG, you can imagine this being PG or PG-13 just because the theme is sexual harassment.
  • Jump Scares/ Laughs/ Tear-Jerking Moments: N/A, but you may feel frustrated as hell to the point of tearing up.

Cast & Characters

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.


Emma (Angela Wong Carbone) during her HR hearing
Angela Wong Carbone appears in Doublespeak by Hazel McKibbin, an official selection of the Shorts Program at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Allison Anderson.

A young editor who works for an unnamed company and is just trying to make sure a predatory Senior Editor is more than given a slap on the wrist.


Peter is a Senior Editor who holds a bit of power due to him having clients, so he tries to take advantage of Emma.



Absorbing Emma’s Frustration

There is nothing like the first time you realize that Human Resources, despite how nice they can often be when you are hired, ultimately can’t and won’t protect you – because that’s not their job. Rather, their job is to protect the company and the company’s prize assets, be it people or property, safe. So while you listen to stock language being used to imply Emma lacks the evidence she needs, it’s hard to not feel the same frustration Carbone is channeling and not feel it tense your shoulders and build up in your lower back.

Heck, if you are someone who ever was dismissed by HR when reporting someone on a managerial or director level, all of this will be triggering to the point of being glad this is only ten minutes. For between crying or wanting to flip a table, McKibbin’s Doublespeak can feel a little too close to reality for comfort.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

This short got my blood pressure going up and is requiring me to take deep breaths and wipe my eyes a bit. Because, while never in the exact situation Emma was in, there is something universal about not feeling protected and in a situation where you feel powerless. Specifically, that, while the problem is acknowledged, there is nothing that will be done, and because of that, the person accused decides to flaunt that they are in the power position.

Thus leaving you feeling that you are forced to either suck it up or quit, with neither one the best of options because one means loss of income and the other a drain on your joy, your comfort, and you really wondering, as a person, do they see you as replaceable? Hence the positive label and recommendation. I’m pretty sure if this was full length, I’d need to punch a wall, scream, cry, blow my nose, just have some sort of release because this has my shoulders and lower back tight.

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