Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Adam Davis' indie short "Broken Ceiling" illustrates what happens when Black women are through being used as mules in the workplace.
Having been made aware of the main plot via IMDB, I went into this movie knowing Broken Ceiling was a story of retribution and breaking free from the constraints of working under racially-biased men who took no issue consuming her labor but not allowing her to advance. Just HOW this plot would be delivered to the audience turns out to be quite interesting.
Directed by Alan Davis
The film opens with the main boss of the company, Ken Wolfe, yelling at one of his employees and firing him. The focus then shifts towards another longtime worker, Tyler Foster, who's become stagnant in his role and wants to move up the ladder, to take on more responsibilities. But when he finds out that the boss was just feeding him lines of BS and plans to have the newest employee, Garrett Jensen, replace him, Tyler reaches a breaking point and decides to sabotage a very important partnership deal that the company's been working on during a conference call.
Now, at this point, a huge part of me was thinking, "What's going on?" I thought this movie was going to be about Angela Walker, Ken's longtime assistant, getting even when passed up for a promotion yet again. As I was partly giving up hope while Tyler plays his hand, and ends up getting fired, that's when Angela finally makes her move, and takes over the meeting/conference call, to the shock of Tyler, Garrett, and Ken.
In Angela Walker, Karan Kendrick gives a knockout performance as the quintessential assistant who has had enough. Angela's backstory functions as commentary on the dilemma Black women face while working in the corporate world: we're taught that we have to hate ourselves and assimilate to the climate we're working in, down to the very essence of our being: straightening our kinky hair, taking on the burdens of the world as the mules of the earth, to accept our mule harness, and to never expect to ascend past what White people in power think or want of us. Karan grabs the reins and forces the other three White men in the room to face up to their shortcomings as people and co-workers, and face the consequences of perpetuating social structures that benefit them as White men.
Angela's revenge in Broken Ceiling---and oh, what SWEET revenge it is---is planned so smoothly from beginning to end, I couldn't help but believe her act was for herself and all Black women, made even sweeter by the fact throughout it all, they will never know her real name, because "Angela" will never tell them.
I give Broken Ceiling 3 out of 5 Foxys. I think a better plot summary that better hides the "surprise" element of whom the movie is actually about would greatly help the movie.