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Rude, crude, and unapologetic, microbiologist Dr. Serena Wolfe (Anna Lise Phillips) is great with pathogenic bacteria, but her interactions with fellow humans are strained at best. Serena can’t drive her car or go to the movies without getting into a conflict. Her colleagues avoid her, her lab assistants are terrified of her, and she eats dinner alone every night standing over her kitchen sink. After crossing a line with a colleague, Serena is forced to undergo an attitude adjustment courtesy of perpetually perky sensitivity coach Caroline (Jill Alexander). Determined to make Serena an acceptable human being, Caroline and her sunny disposition represent everything Serena hates, and her brand of sensitivity training is extremely invasive. With Caroline shadowing Serena’s every move, they develop an unexpected bond, each challenging the other’s defenses.
SENSITIVITY TRAINING is the celebrated first feature film by writer/director Melissa Finell, whose script won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award. It debuts following an extensive festival run including world premiering at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival, where it was named a “Can’t Miss” film by The Hollywood Reporter.
'Sensitivity Training' is a quirky comedy featuring queer women scientists - AfterEllen
"Melissa Finell‘s feature film debut, Sensitivity Training, passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors. Co-starring Girl Code‘s Quinn Marcus and with a brief appearance from Amy Madigan as Serena’s distant mother, Sensitivity Training is a largely female cast with queer themes intricately woven in and treated with effective normalcy."
- Trish Bendix
LAFF Review: 'Sensitivity Training' is Real Anger Management - The Nerd Report
"This is real anger management, someone who needs it and is hilarious about it. I wish Sensitivity Training all the success they can have after LAFF. It is genuinely funny and the performances by Phillips and Alexander deserve to be seen."
- Fred Topel
"Sensitivity Training is one of the few films I’ve seen over the years at Los Angeles Film Festival which had me laughing so hard at the hard-ass, crude, rude, calls-it-like-she-sees-it protagonist, that I was rolling with side splitting laughter. It doesn’t get much funnier or much better than Sensitivity Training."
- Debbie Lynn Elias
"While the film flirts with a traditional opposites attract tale, Finell subverts expectations as neither Serena or Caroline are exactly who they might be pegged as by one another, with Alexander and Phillips making a fine comic duo, and taking advantage of those personal misunderstandings to lead to unexpected places."
- Stephen Saito
WATCH: LA Muse Filmmaker Interview - Film Independent
Filmmaker Interview: writer/director MELISSA FINELL and producer MEGHA KOHLI - SAG Indie
"If there’s one film sub-genre you don’t see much of, it’s Science Films. Not Sci-Fi, but films set in the world of science and technology. Sensitivity Training sets out to change that, taking the buddy comedy genre and placing it in the science field. That’s part of the reason the film (and writer/director MELISSA FINELL) was awarded a production grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for increasing visibility of science and technology in media."
- Colin McCormack
'Sensitivity Training' is Sweetly Delicious - AfterEllen
- Karen Frost
LAFF: Character Thru a Strong Sense of Place - Below The Line News
"Looking to find the story in real-world details, production designer Perry worked with a scientist to create an authentic microbiology lab, an essential setting for Serena’s profession, which also served as a visual metaphor in support of the film’s theme of self-protection. The cold, monochromatic starkness of Serena’s apartment contrasted with the colorful, vibrant and full-of-life home where Caroline lived with her family."
- Mary Ann Skweres
#ICastIt: The Science of Casting Opposites in Melissa Finell’s ‘Sensitivity Training’ - Backstage
Serena and Caroline are complex, relatable, and genuine characters with very distinct personalities. Despite the quirks each character possesses, Finell’s writing paired with the strong cast of comedic actors brings to life characters that are sympathetic and relatable.
- Melinda Loewenstein
LA Film Festival 2016: A Wrap Up - Awards Circuit
"Sensitivity Training is a very smart and hilarious look at relationships and the way people interact with each other. In her first feature, Melissa Finell gives us a film that can be appreciated by a wide range of moviegoers. In a time when most female-led studio films are either marketed specifically to women or are full of crude vulgarity because they think that’s all male audiences want, Finell presents an independent story that isn’t about gender, but about people."
- Karen Peterson
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