The Assistant

“The Assistant is a darkly compelling, forensically detailed shocker from Australian writer-director Kitty Green about one young woman’s experience working for a monster. Jane, played by Julia Garner, who is pitch-perfect in her willed restraint, dreams of producing when she signs on for the alleged glamor job as an assistant to the head of a film production company.

“Her duties — observed over one full day — include scheduling hotel appointments with assorted women, picking up a female visitor’s stray earring on the floor of his office, and using gloves to clean revolting stains off his couch. The boss remains unseen, but we hear him barking orders, berating her on the phone or through emails, and then apologizing to massage her hurt feelings. When Jane does visit HR, the rep tells her to push her concerns under the rug. Why risk a good job just because abasement and humiliation need to be part of her skill set? Besides, he adds conspiratorially, “I don’t think you have anything to worry about. You’re not his type.” And there you have it: the conspiracy of silence.

“Green was initially interested in crafting a doc about sexual misconduct on college campuses. But when the Weinstein accusations broke, she shifted her focus, interviewing people who worked for Hollywood studios and agencies. The Assistant, Green’s first narrative feature, uses her research to challenge a system that extends to workplaces everywhere, and keeps abusers in power and women under their thumb.

“Garner, the twentysomething powerhouse, who won a well-deserved Emmy for the Netflix crime drama Ozark, is implosive dynamite as Jane. In her compassionate portrait of a woman alone, Garner acts with her wounded, indelibly expressive eyes and the small gestures and shifts of posture that suggest her devastating sense of helplessness and the moral battles raging inside. Together, Garner and Green have built a potent provocation that stands as a defining snapshot of the MeToo era.” - Rolling Stone


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