From the mind of Chelsea Gonzalez is the short film Susanne and The Man, a dark and humorous take on toxic masculinity.
Our tale takes place in a rather lovely, fine-dining restaurant. Susanne nervously sits as she awaits for her potential new boss, Stan (Johnathan McClain), to arrive. Clearly, in the position of power, Stan speaks in an odd Seussian-rhyming pattern, but he is a man after all and quickly dismisses Susanne’s business proposal after glancing at a few pages.
Out of the goodness of his heart, though, Stan lets Susanne pitch her plan to increase his clients’ investment revenues by 2.25 percent with no additional costs. Still, Stan only cares about fulfilling his diversity quotient and offers to hire Susanne and well as give her the honor of having sex with him. As Stan applies the pressure, Susanne lashes out and takes no prisoners…particularly all the male ones.
“…Stan only cares about fulfilling his diversity quotient…as give her the honor of having sex with him.”
Written, produced, and starring Chelsea Gonzalez, Susanne and The Man is a protest film against job inequality, toxic masculinity, and sexual harassment. Overall, the short film is performed well, and Chelsea Gonzalez successfully captured her vision in both story-telling and execution. The rhyming gimmick is smart, and I like how she’s playing with it even with her own character. There’s a purpose for it and is not a throwaway gag. The back end of the short also shows an excellent visual style in getting her point across. She went in, told her story flawlessly, and even gave us something to think about.
Susanne and The Man is good, but… it’s been told before. Swap out the fact that the short deals with women, inequality, privilege, and gender-stereotypes. Replace Women with Black, Asian, Latinx, or LGBT, and I’ve seen similar concepts of the dinner meeting and the unusual, explosive, dream-like ending. As good as the short is, it doesn’t elevate itself from the pack. On the plus, it reminds us the problem is far from solved.
"…successfully captured her vision in both story-telling and execution."