Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Wake up - Daniel dives into the monumental animated classic 'Sleeping Beauty' on a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - click to listen now!x
review, The Assistant, The, Assistant, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Dagmara Domińczyk, Kristine Froseth, Makenzie Leigh, Juliana Canfield, Noah Robbins, Alexander Chaplin, Purva Bedi, Lou Martini Jr, Kitty Green, Drama film rating




By Ashley Teresa
24th June 2020

Hollywood's response to the #MeToo era has been fragmented, to say the least. Whether it's virtue signalling at awards ceremonies (before letting the very abusers they've denounced continue to have careers) or sensationalising high profile-cases, such as in Fox News dramedy disaster 'Bombshell', there have been very few instances where Hollywood has actually understood the gravity of the issue, or how to accurately portray it in all its quiet, unspoken horror. 'The Assistant', written and directed by Australian Kitty Green, is one of the very first films that cuts the perceived glamour out of the issue and shows just how ingrained harassment is in workplace culture.

Taking place over the course of one day, the film follows Jane (Julia Garner, TV's 'Ozark'), a recent employee of a New York-based entertainment mogul, through the mundanities of her position. Eyes are rarely on Jane while she organises her boss' trips, cleans his meeting rooms, and receives packages, but her unease is palpable. Is it due to the fact that Jane, an aspiring screenwriter, is scared that something as small as an administration mistake could screw up this chance to further her career? Or is it due to the stains and jewellery on her boss' couch, his crying wife demanding to know why her funds have been cut off, and the very young waitress (Kristine Froseth, TV's 'Looking for Alaska') he's recently snapped up as a new assistant? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Jane's boss is power-drunk and dangerous, but Green never explicitly tells her audience that. Instead, we are left to assume the worst of a man we never even see on screen, instead only hearing his growls through walls or over the phone as he berates Jane, which only adds to his threatening aura. It makes for a bone-chilling experience.


It's impossible to imagine 'The Assistant' working nearly as well as it does without Julia Garner. Green has struck gold with her lead star, whose non-verbal acting carries the entire film. Jane knows very well that one wrong word could end her career, and it's up to her eyes to scream for help from her workmates, from HR, from other women in her workplace. 'The Assistant' may not seem like the kind of film that would benefit from a big theatre experience, but a large screen to read emails on Jane's screen and a great sound system to pick up on whispers and phone calls throughout the office only add to the experience. Green has stated that she spoke to hundreds of women about their personal experiences in workplaces such as the one in 'The Assistant' to assist in writing the screenplay, making the film more authentic and highlighting just how normalised the institutionalised demoralisation of women has become.

The miracle of 'The Assistant' is how it manages to do so much with so little.

The miracle of 'The Assistant' is how it manages to do so much with so little. To the wrong audience, its gulfs of dialogue-less moments may seem boring; however, when given the attention it deserves, the anger and fear bubbling under the surface are impossible to ignore. The micro-aggressions and gaslighting Jane faces throughout the day sting no less than the moments of kindness from her workmates and her boss, as if they are meant to make up for yelling at Jane over something as inconsequential as getting a sandwich order wrong. Green heightens the hostility of Jane's work environment by saturating the film in cool tones and shooting in rooms with harsh fluorescent lighting, adding to Jane's discomfort as she slouches forward in an attempt to go as unseen as possible.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a film that moves with such unassuming intensity as 'The Assistant', a film that demands full attention from its audience to tell a frustratingly normalised story of frustrating normalised harassment. It's a quiet film brimming with power, one that is not to be missed.

RELEASE DATE: 22/06/2020
RUN TIME: 1h 25m
CAST: Julia Garner
Matthew Macfadyen
Dagmara Domińczyk
Kristine Froseth
Makenzie Leigh
Juliana Canfield
Noah Robbins
Alexander Chaplin
Purva Bedi
Lou Martini Jr
PRODUCERS: P. Jennifer Dana
Scott Macaulay
James Schamus
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
High Ground - Australia's cycle of violence
TRENDINGHIGH GROUNDAustralia's cycle of violence
Jungle - A true story told poorly
TRENDINGJUNGLEA true story told poorly
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Music - Sia's feature debut falls flat
TRENDINGMUSICSia's feature debut falls flat
Nymphomaniac - Lars, sex and cinema
Penguin Bloom - An inspiring true Aussie film
TRENDINGPENGUIN BLOOMAn inspiring true Aussie film
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
Kuessipan - Coming of age story in an Innu community
TRENDINGKUESSIPANComing of age story in an Innu community
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
River's Edge - The kids aren't alright
TRENDINGRIVER'S EDGEThe kids aren't alright
Tenet - Time runs up, like my enjoyment of Nolan’s latest film
TRENDINGTENETTime runs up, like my enjoyment of Nolan’s latest film
The Great Battle - An awesomely entertaining war epic
TRENDINGTHE GREAT BATTLEAn awesomely entertaining war epic
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Promising Young Woman - Nice guys no more
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!