I Want to Speak to Your Manager

Review Over New “Karen” Movie


Photo courtesy of Isaiah Prophet

In this scene, Karen shows up uninvited to Malik and Imani’s home and proceeds to cause a scene with her unsolicited opinions. This is just one of the several scenes where Karen attempts to stir drama with her neighbors. I enjoyed the films use of scenes like this one because they added a touch of realism to the film.

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

With a short bob haircut and even shorter temper, everyone has dealt with a “Karen” at some point in their lives.  She stalks the scene, waiting for her moment to berate and harass any person in her vicinity. She may appear at your local grocery store, restaurant or really any other place where innocent people can be found. But the absolute last place you’d want to see a Karen is two houses down. 

The Black Entertainment Television original film was released on Sept. 3 and begins with Karen, the obvious antagonist of the film, taking a bucket of water and washing away a “Black Lives Matter” mural made of chalk. Right away the film lets us know exactly what to expect from “Karen.” The scene ends and is cut to the new black couple, Imani and Malik, who are moving into their home. As Imani and Malik are seen unpacking and adjusting, down the street, Karen is seen spying on her new neighbors and her wrath ensues.

Throughout the film, Karen spends her time confronting her neighbors on numerous occasions. She starts an argument in the parking lot over a trash bin, complains to the Homeowners Association and makes false claims about Imani and Malik, crashes a house party held by the new couple and begins harassing the guests, and makes several aggressive attempts to intimidate them into moving out. As the film progresses Karen’s actions become less like microaggressions and more akin to hate crimes. But her most heinous action by far is when Karen, out of complete desperation, hatches a plan to get Malik unlawfully arrested and get rid of Imani in the process. While it was enjoyable and somewhat funny watching Karen be portrayed as the crazy woman we all know and hate, there are some elements of the film that could have been stronger.

The dialogue, as well as the characters, were very surface level, and at times the dialogue felt very forced. What was interesting was the complete lack of filter which clearly depicts what this movie is meant to represent. Dark satire mixed with a bit of grim reality are prevalent all throughout this film, which could be viewed as funny to some. Karen does not mind her words whatsoever; anything obscene or controversial that she could say, she said it. Throughout her home, it is clear she is racist, as she has a confederate flag soap dispenser in her bathroom. The film made a very clear point to paint each character exactly how you would expect them to act. While this does lead to some unironically funny scenes it also prevents the characters from having a lot of dimension to them. 

The film was very reliant on caricatures and stereotypes, but it does have its groundings in real world issues that occur to this day. The racism that was depicted in this film is not something that was made up on screen and this film does do a good, albeit, exaggerated method, of putting it on display. As for the story itself there were many plot points that were left unexplored, such as Karen’s daughter having a black boyfriend, as well as the hinted attraction Karen has for Malik. The film also felt like it was holding your hand the entire way through, each scene was laid out in its full with little to details left for the audience’s imagination. But, because of its somewhat satirical dialogue and political commentary, I rate it a three out of five. I recommend it for people that are into satirical thriller films, but maybe avoid it if you’re someone that enjoys more realistic depictions of topics.

“Karen” is available to stream from $3.99 and purchase from $9.99 on Amazon Prime VideoGoogle PlayiTunes and Microsoft Store.