In the #MeToo period, is this girl in a corrupt system?
Kitty Green’s “The Assistant” is one I was guessing throughout-pondering the main heroine’s positions, what she observes, and how she is treated. I’ve been told it’s a #MeToo type film, given the respective Harvey Weinstein and Roger Ailes cases, but it never jumps to conclusions on that. It just shows us how things are for her in the office, and how she acknowledges the true colors inside.
And this assistant named Jane (Julia Garner from “Grandma”) is a recent college grad and aspiring film producer, who has been working in this establishment for 5 weeks, and arrives there very early to turn on the lights, arrange the items (water bottles, meds, etc.), and tidy up her boss’ office a bit. As the day commences, she answers the phone, arranges the appointments, and gets advice from her fellow coworkers on how she should finish off her emails to her boss.
We never get to see this Boss, but we barely hear him on the phone with Jane, and the credits explain his voice is by Jay O. Sanders. She also becomes suspicious about how she drops off the new assistant at a hotel, and her boss has been gone since. That’s when she goes to an HR executive (Matthew Macfadyen), who tells her she’s probably overreacting, and that she’s not her boss’ type.
The mistreatment I’m pertaining to has Jane taking crap from some clients and her boss, via phone call. As a newbie, it’s always very stressful at first, until they get the hang of things. Them and the coincidences about how her boss views her.
All and all, Garner, a name I haven’t heard from in years, gives a reserved and memorable performance as the girl, based on how she adapts to the realities around her. She’s more skittish than independent about whether or not her boss is a male chauvinist pig, and if her environment is corrupt. Not all women are as strong as they’re meant to be, and that’s understandable.
From beginning to end, I was viewing “The Assistant” the way Kevin Smith explored the world of slackers in “Clerks.” In this case, we’re taking about a production company and its main employee. I was part of an internship program for an independent theater in Nee York City, so it was interesting for me to see how this girl goes about her day. Guess I needed that memento.
But really in our current state, Kitty Green gives the girl her drama and fears, and delves into the motives on a low-key scale. It’s not the major scandal motion picture you’re expecting; it’s the sentimental and cautious one you need.