Many of us can identify with that moment in a relationship when one says something that unexpectedly triggers a much large discussion. For the couple at the centre of Sasha Leigh Henry’s engaging short film Sinking Ship, things get uncomfortable when a man (Herschel Andoh) decides to share his decreasing lack of interest with his partner (Jenny Brizard). While he claims to love that she is intellectual and outspoken, it is her assertiveness, more specifically her ability to not need him in the way he thinks a woman should, that has become a turn off. Of course, what the man assumes is constructive criticism quickly snowballs into a conversation that he clearly is not prepared for.

Using the man’s misguided views as a jumping off point, Henry creates a comical look at the fragile nature of the male ego. By deconstructing the traditional notion of gender roles in relationships, the film works as both a celebration of female empowerment and a scathing commentary on the boxes men often attempt to place women in. Henry manages to get a lot out of minimal setting, one is literally watching two people have a conversation for 13 minutes, through her sharp dialogue and sly use of visual effects. Asking the viewer to be a fly on an increasingly uncomfortable wall, Sinking Ship is a delightfully cringe-worthy experience.