THE ASSISTANT – A Review by Cynthia Flores
The Assistant is a timely morality story about the toxic office environments that fostered people like Harvey Weinstein in the film business. The story follows Jane (Julia Garner) from the beginning of her very early days as an assistant in the production offices of a powerful unseen producer. The director, Kitty Green, took great care to show us Jane’s daily routine and all the unseen slights that she endures in her job. As the day goes on, Jane grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens any young actress or naive female assistant that goes into that producer’s office alone. At one point, she’s had enough and musters up the courage to go to human resources in the next building where she deals with a man named Mr. Wilcox (Matthew Macfadyen). It quickly becomes evident that Mr. Wilcox has had to deal with allegations against the successful producer before. He flippantly and coldly deals with Jane to protect the producer. As the film continues Jane hears even a male assistant (Noah Robbins) endure the wrath of this bullying producer behind closed doors. No one is safe in this office, but everyone lets Jane know that it will be worth it to “go along to get along.” Jane’s long day finally ends in a late night at the office. She’s told over the intercom she’s done for the day and leaves as her boss appears to have sex with another young actress in his office. As Jane leaves, she is forced to own the life and job she has chosen to get her a job ultimately as a producer.
Director Kitty Green has done documentaries before, but this is her directorial and writing debut for a feature film. I hope this won’t be her last. She has a strong visual language and is adept at writing scenes of believable tension between characters. This movie is totally an art-house film as it has no car chases or blood splattered everywhere. What there is, however, is a quiet study of human dynamics in a toxic workplace.
I give The Assistant a four-star rating and hope it finds its audience.
Directed by: Kitty Green
Written by: Kitty Green
Selig Rating 4 Stars
Running Time: 1hr 27min
Limited Release: February 14th The Angelika film & Cafe Dallas and Plano
Starring: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Noah Robbins
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.