Review: Sensitivity Training

Anna Lise Phillips and Jill Alexander in Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity Training is a comedy about an abrasive woman who is forced to learn how to treat people or lose her job. I found this 2016 woman written and directed comedy on Amazon Prime.

Anna Lise Phillips in Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity Training takes place in an immunology lab at a university. Serena (Anna Lise Phillips), the head of the lab, is angry and disagreeable about everything. She frequently makes her employees and co-workers cry with her cruel remarks. Her brilliant intern Ellen (Quinn Marcus) does most the the scientific advancement that happens, but Serena doesn’t notice because she never listens to people.

One of her co-workers commits suicide. It’s blamed on Serena’s cruel remarks.

Serena (what a hilarious choice of character names) is told she will learn to be nicer or that’s it – she’s kaput.

Jill Alexander in Sensitivity Training

Enter Caroline (Jill Alexander), a trainer who usually has to deal with men who sexually harass women in the office. She has two Ph.D.’s (in the soft sciences, as Serena quickly points out), a wife, a kid, and a bubbly personality.

Caroline is thrilled by Serena’s difficult case. It’s a challenge and takes her out of the office. Serena, on the other hand, is not thrilled.

Serena’s half-brother Ethan (Finnegan Haid) is kicked out of the parental home on his 18th birthday. He asks if he can stay with Serena for a while. She says no, but gives him a job in the lab.

Serena’s parents Nancy (Amy Madigan) and step-dad Glenn (Charles Haid) make a very brief but effective appearance. Serena goes to see them about Ethan – hmm, could she be learning to care about another human being?

This is a comedy, so good things happen. Serena and Caroline bond somewhat. They take selfies. Serena smiles sometimes by accident. She recognizes the intern Ellen’s contribution. Things improve.

Sensitivity Training was written and directed by first time feature director Melissa Finell. Considering the budget that must have been involved, it looks polished. Some clever choices were made regarding sets. And how many films do you see where the props are microscopes and nasty looking Petri dishes?

The poster for Sensitivity Training

Here’s a look at the trailer. This wasn’t the world’s greatest film, but I watched it all the way through which is always a good sign.

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