Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
'The Jungle Book' brings Disney's Silver Age to an end - listen in our lastest episode of 'Ink & Paint' 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
Six Minutes to Midnight - An astonishing real-life tale
TRENDINGWIN SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHTAn astonishing real-life tale
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
Palm Beach - Aussie dream cast, unwelcoming dinner party
TRENDINGPALM BEACHAussie dream cast, unwelcoming dinner party
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
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
Supernova - Colin Firth & Stanley Tucci's comforting yet confronting romance
TRENDINGSUPERNOVAColin Firth & Stanley Tucci's comforting yet confronting romance
Waterloo - An epic recreation of the legendary battle
TRENDINGWATERLOOAn epic recreation of the legendary battle
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Endings, Beginnings - Star-studded sex drama lacks substance
TRENDINGENDINGS, BEGINNINGSStar-studded sex drama lacks substance
One Night in Miami - A dynamic look at a meeting of four icons
TRENDINGONE NIGHT IN MIAMIA dynamic look at a meeting of four icons
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
Collective - A shocking, raw investigation that defies belief
TRENDINGCOLLECTIVEA shocking, raw investigation that defies belief
Golden Voices - Immigration struggles with amusing challenges
TRENDINGGOLDEN VOICESImmigration struggles with amusing challenges
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Cosmos: Ultimate Edition - The world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
TRENDINGCOSMOS: ULTIMATE EDITIONThe world premiere Blu-ray release of the iconic series
Last Cab to Darwin - Tearfully inspiring
Cross The Line - A gritty descent into a feverish hell
TRENDINGCROSS THE LINEA gritty descent into a feverish hell
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!