A tense gem of a film that most of you will have missed The Assistant is beautifully simple and will also make you squirm.
The Plot in a Nutshell
Jane (Julia Garner) is a low level assistant at a company in the film industry. The film shows 24 hours in her life, from being the first one to the office in the morning to being the last still in at night. As well has being a hard working and intelligent assistant Jane notices that young and attractive women pass through the office wanting to be noticed. Jane goes as far as to speak to HR, but when her boss finds out she is in big trouble. So what should she do? Just ignore this “casting couch” mentality?
I really loved this film, as you can tell by the five stars.
The Assistant is driven by Julia Garner’s understated performance. She does a really great job of portraying someone who is concerned about what is going on around her, but also acutely aware that she also needs her job to stay in her chosen industry.
The atmosphere is also wonderful. The beginning is clearly early morning, even though we have no indication of time until a few hours later, and the ending is also eerily dark, like those late nights when you have an essay deadline and you come out of the library and nothing is open but dirty diners.
The simplicity of the plot is wonderful. It’s almost like you’re watching someone work for a whole day, but without being at all bored. You get a sense of the mundane day-to-day along with the uncomfortable casting-couch activities that she has to turn a blind eye to.
The last thing to mention is the tension. There are a couple of scenes that make your blood boil – the scenes where there’s clear sexism and even abuse of young women who are trying to “make it”. Jane is stuck in a situation that no one knows what to do in – do you preserve yourself or stand up and loose everything?
The Assistant is only available to rent right now, but keep an eye on streaming sites as it may appear soon. I highly recommend.