Friday, February 7, 2020

The Assistant Movie Review

Julia Garner stars in The Assistant

First One In, Last One Out

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: "The Assistant" follows one day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant's - making coffee, changing the paper in the copy machine, ordering lunch, arranging travel, taking phone messages, onboarding a new hire. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she (and we) grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered. Directed by Kitty Green.

Starring: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Kristine Froseth, Makenzie Leigh, Noah Robbins, Dagmara DomiƄczyk and Purva Bedi

What's Good: Garner's role isn't easy. She doesn't get to say much (hardly anyone does) but she speaks volumes with her diligence, frequent disappointments and ultimate dissatisfaction with her "dream job." Perhaps she's a bit naive, but until you walk a day in her shoes (which Green's nimble direction allows) it's hard not to feel sorry for her.

What's Not: The lack of interaction keeps viewers at a distance, but it's a necessary evil, which allows you to fully appreciate Jane's isolation in (what amounts to) a hostile work environment. The lack of hope dampens the mood (considerbly) but I think that's what Green is going for. If you're searching for a happy ending, you're likely going to leave disappointed.

Budget: N/A

Runtime: 85 minutes (Perfect.)

Target Audience: Just about anyone, but definitely aimed at females.

Bottom Line: Green's decision to showcase (only) one day of work is a smart choice... as is the (relative) lack of dialogue & background music, which helps keep the focus on Jane, where it belongs. Garner is a budding star, and this seemingly thankless turn only cements the fact. The Assistant isn't enjoyable (to watch) but it's compelling and important, especially as a precursor to the #MeToo movement.

Grade: B