For Your Consideration

By Poppy Gordon | Comedy
3 entitled girls try to make the most 'woke' film ever to win an Oscar.

Beautiful, stylish and coolly intelligent, Heather is doing yoga at her home in Los Angeles, when she comes to a realization: she wants to make a short film that will get her into Sundance and to the parties at the famed film festival.

She summons her friends to a private members club, enlisting them in a brainstorming session for their movie. The idea is to create the most "woke" film ever, coming up with an idea that may work -- despite their blinkered blind spots of privilege and barely veiled crassness.

Directed by Poppy Gordon from a script co-written with Aldo Arias, this sleekly stylish, satirical comedy short skewers the idea of performative wokeness, the vanity of Hollywood and the hijacking of other people's narratives in service of preening and elitism. Blending biting, smart writing with stylish elan, it's like an influencer's fever dream turned cultural dystopia, taking unexpected turns that build into a self-aware, surprisingly nuanced critique.

The story is undeniably satire, a subgenre of comedy often focused on ideas, culture and politics. With its range of references and awareness of evolving cliches, the writing is smart, tight and supremely controlled, with a gift for brittle, witty one-liners and snarky turns-of-phrase. True to its ultra-trendy milieu, the eye-candy visuals are also extremely glamorous, shot with a glossy, sunny sheen and vivid, sun-soaked colors -- like an uber-curated Instagram feed come to life.

Within this heightened, stylized world, Heather and her cronies perch with their matcha drinks and oat lattes at their private, exclusive club. As they brainstorm their future award-winning narrative, viewers see their film come to life, and revise itself as the ladies pile on the oppression, microaggressions and identities. Not only is this film-within-a-film sharply funny and creatively sophisticated, but it brings attention to how very real traumas and disadvantages get appropriated, and why. There may be lip service to getting the stories of oppressed voices out there, but the real agenda is boosting personal reputation and getting into exclusive events.

This tricky balance is epitomized by a sophisticated performance by actor Samantha Robinson, who plays ringleader Heather with a sangfroid and icy, uncanny intelligence. Heather is strategic with an awareness of social media, optics and pop culture -- basically, like a riff on Kim Kardashian as a master of the universe. It's a canny and bold performance, and like this film, utterly fascinating to watch.

Impeccably crafted and admirably committed to its vision, "For Your Consideration" may satirize "woke" politically correct stories, but its multi-layered narrative has a genuine point about what happens when a privileged few co-opts the stories of those left out of the structures of power. Seductively bright and pleasurable to the eyes, the short's cleverness and intelligence also recognizes its own complicity in the process of mediamaking and pulls viewers into this introspection as well. It's not enough just to consume the narratives of those historically excluded from mainstream storytelling. Representation, it implies, is not enough. It's ultimately important to empower these storytellers by giving them a true place at the tables of power -- lattes and cappuccinos included, of course.

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