I'm being honest when I write that I really enjoyed this short film. It was witty, a tad humorous, and even a little sad and depressing - without a doubt, "The Manager Position" has its charms. It all starts harmless enough, focusing on Philip Talbert as he struggles to maintain the "everything is alright" image for his pregnant wife. Things are not alright, however, and Talbert no longer has a job. He does put on a good show, though. Every morning he leaves for "work," and every night, he comes home with office-related stories to tell his wife. When his stories start to take shape and become "real," this film finds its stride and doesn't let up.
I found it interesting that Philip couldn't simply tell his loving wife that things were not good, that he had lost his job. Shit happens, and as his wife, Liz Talbert, would surely have understood. The pandemic has been brutal on everyone, after all. But Philip's lack of honesty isn't what I meant when I wrote about the "interesting" part of this film - what I meant was that I completely relate with his growing fib. Failure, even by no fault of your own, is hard to share with those you love ... especially those you love. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. More to the point? We all worry about "stressing" those we care about, so yes, reader, I completely understand the character's motivation. However, all that is only a tiny part of what makes this film a great one - it's the "office life" that begins to take shape and grow that really gives this film its charm. Plus, I was constantly wondering if this was all taking place or if this was all in Philip's mind. Were random bored people showing up to this near empty office - people wanting ... no, needing to be useful? I'm not suggesting that this short film leaves questions to be answered - only that I don't want to spoil the entire plot.
From a technical standpoint, "The Manager Position" looks and sounds great. It's well written, excellently acted, and superbly executed. But the "little things" make this film stand out. The way Philip learned the names of the ever-increasing number of employees and the little jabs at office politics in general. There's a lot of detail here, and it shows. But there is also a dark side to this upbeat short film with themes ranging from loneliness, self-worth, and a general desire to be needed. I'm also going to come right out and say it - I wouldn't say I liked the ending. Not because it was terrible, unrealistic, or anything like that. I was just hoping for a different outcome for Philip. Maybe even a few magical elements to randomly pop up with fantastical results. To me, a little magic felt like it would have had an enormous impact.
What else can be said? "The Manager Position" was an excellent short film, with the weakest link being that I personally didn't like the ending. The finale all made perfect sense and was about as brutally honest as you can get. I was simply hoping for something a little different. It's also not lost on me that my hope for an alternate outcome is a compliment in itself - because it meant that I actually cared. Bottom line? A great short film earning four and a half stars. Period.