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By Josiah Teal | April 2, 2021

Set in the countryside of Victorian Britain, writer/director Leif Johnson’s short film, Satisfaction, concerns itself with a gentlemen’s form of conflict resolution: duels to the death. When Victoria (Lisa Ronaghan) hears the news that her betrothed, Thomas (Leo Mates), will be facing off against the dreaded Joshua Campton (Will Clemper), her life becomes more frustrating than need be.

It turns out more planning goes into a duel than previously imagined. Awaiting the potential demise of her lover, Victoria commiserates with Emma (Francesca Reid), the sister of Campton, about either one of their eventual fates. The two also comment upon the silliness of duels and gender roles in the Queen’s England.

“Awaiting the potential demise of her lover, Victoria commiserates with Emma…”

Satisfaction is an irreverent and whimsical short comedy. Clocking in at just 15 minutes, it riffs on gender roles, sexuality, and the absurdity of “gentlemanly violence.” The strongest jokes come from Johnson’s ability to play on Jane Austen-esque tropes. The film never takes itself too seriously and subtly roasts all the right targets.

Your memory of high school English will probably play a lot into your enjoyment of this film. If you are familiar with the gender roles of the time or common themes of English novels, you will be very entertained. However, some jokes miss the mark, primarily when they break into modern English and then hastily return to the King’s. It works well once as a joke, but the more it’s repeated, the more it takes the viewer out of the film.

But the gender commentary is brilliant and English majors will enjoy the spirit it brings. While not for everyone, Satisfaction is a charming and enjoyable way to poke fun at the “manliest” way a gentleman can die.

Satisfaction (2021)

Directed and Written: Leif Johnson

Starring: Leo Mates, Will Clempner, Lisa Ronaghan, Francesca Reid, Jam Norman, Lauren Wilson, Suki Webster, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Satisfaction Image

"…irreverent and whimsical..."

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