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The Assistant

Published May 2, 2020

The Assistant

Film info

  • Title The Assistant
  • Director Kitty Green
  • Year 2019
  • Run time 1hr 27m
  • Genre Drama
  • Tagline A look at the day in the life of the assistant to a powerful corporate executive

Jane (Julia Garner) is a recent college graduate, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful movie mogul. As Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the questionable behaviour of her boss toward her female peers. She decides to take a stand, only to discover the true insidious nature of the system into which she has entered.

Live blog

Time Comment
3:57 This may be the slowest start to any film ever.
7:20 Fruit Loops just look insanely bad for you.
14:49 I’m enjoying how quiet this film is.
19:01 I would have rage quit a long time ago. No one should be treated like that.
23:13 Having three assistants is weird, how do they know who does what?
30:50 Wow, those kids are annoying.
38:23 Nice scarf she’s got there.
38:58 Lots of silent lift rides in this building.
41:11 “I don’t have him right now,” sounds worse than whatever lie she was gonna say.
42:12 Ugh, paper jams.
46:08 I really don’t like the word onboarding.
53:07 He’s being a dick but he has a point, she doesn’t really have any evidence.
1:01:22 They’re good at these email apologies, I wonder how many they’ve had to write.
1:03:49 I’ve not tried putting ice in a smoothie.
1:04:44 Dialling 9-1 to dial out seems like a risky idea.
1:05:26 I just realised now he has four assistants. That seems like a lot.
1:09:30 I can’t believe how long her day is.
1:18:14 She hasn’t managed to get far from the office.

Thoughts

This film is slow, and thoughtful, and introspective and really, on the face of it, nothing much happens. So I can totally see that this’ll be a film people love or hate. I thought it was brilliant. Firstly, I was in exactly the right mood for this. Tired after an exhausting week, just watching someone go about their day was soothing.

Until you get to what it’s actually all about of course, then it was less soothing and more rage-inducing, but all done in such a subtle and calculated way - showing the insidious nature of those in power taking advantage of those just wanting a start in the world.

Julia Garner does an incredible job holding the frame for a full 80 minutes, and despite doing mundane office work never actually being boring. And the way she internalises everything and you can see it gradually start to break her down. Oof, it’s powerful. And this is just one day, out of many, many days.

What an incredible film this is, and a masterclass in shining a light on something so big in such an understated way.

Rating: 5 / 5

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