Directed by : Kitty Green
Starring : Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Mackenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini, and Noah Robbins.
Written by : Kitty Green
The Assistant follows Jane, a junior assistant in an unnamed film production company – we follow her as she conducts her activities in this company, but immediately we see that she’s working in a very hostile environment – specifically her boss, who remains unnamed throughout the film but it is heavily implied that it’s portraying the disgraced Hollywood mogul – Harvey Weinstein.
The Assistant is by no means a complex film, it’s not centered on any specific plot, or even any character arcs – it’s purely atmospheric, and it absolutely excels on that.
Australian director Kitty Green is able to portray a dry and unsettling environment within the production company, making it more akin to a house of horrors rather than an office. Every step that Jane (Julia Garner) takes, every mundane day-to-day task that she conducts – feels as if she might set off a land mine.
This creeping cold atmosphere is a product of Green’s patience when crafting the narrative of The Assistant. Sexual Harassment in a workplace is a common topic in films in recent years, but while most of them deal the subject matter in a very precipitous manner. The Assistant lets the audience linger within the horrors that Jane experiences, whether that’s by letting the camera close up on her face – revealing every detail of her face after she’s received a very berating phone call from her boss, or focusing on her restless fingers as she’s writing up an apology-email.
While some audiences might find the slow-burn intensity of The Assistant unimpressive, those who are looking for a grounded and un-glamourized depiction of workplace harassment that shines the light on the mental decay of its victims — will be horrifically satisfied by Kitty Green’s dexterous direction, and Julia Garner’s performance.