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Kitty Green’s follow-up to her acclaimed Casting JonBenet, premiered at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival and impressed audiences with its tightly framed, quietly devastating, and intense portrayal of oppression in a workplace.
Jane (Julia Garner) is a junior assistant to a prominent entertainment executive, a man whose face we never get to see, though whose character is clearly inspired by the #MeToo testimonies surrounding Harvey Weinstein. There is nothing glamorous or rewarding about her job, yet she’s often reminded that any young aspiring film producer would kill to take her place.
Over the course of 24 hours, we witness as Garner’s superbly understated Jane faces a multitude of degradations and hostilities (from both men and women), which she continues to bear stoically. She quietly goes about her mundane tasks with an attitude of someone who is used to this type of treatment. Just when we think that nothing can be done about her growing discomfort in this land of self-importance, Jane takes action—and what follows is a fascinating depiction of the mechanics that lead to abuse of power.
"Few movies have spoken more quietly, and consequently more damningly, than The Assistant. The silence of this movie is devastating because we recognize it all too clearly as our own." Los Angeles Times