Domestic Policy

By Alicia MacDonald | Comedy
A tea lady eavesdrops on a top-secret meeting to save the British Empire.

It's 1919, and a tea lady is doling out service when she eavesdrops upon a top-secret government meeting. The group of eminent officials need to solve a grave problem threatening the stability of the British Empire.

Women, these officials decided, have become too unruly and need to be distracted. So they decide to engineer some new preoccupations, which will allow them to run the government without interference.

Writer-director Alicia MacDonald's short comedy is very much a smart, drily funny satire, peppered with tongue-in-cheek dialogue and brought to life with terrific performances, including a lead one by Academy Award-nominated Lesley Manville.

The film is also directed with great finesse, with graceful camerawork lingering over the sumptuous sets and costumes, all bathed in richly warm lighting that conjures the elegant but stultifying atmosphere of the past.

"Domestic Policy" wears its point-of-view proudly front and center, but its wit and intelligence offer both an opportunity to think and laugh all at once. Its ending is both memorable, optimistic -- and a perfect punchline to the film's particular vision of gender politics.

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