Long hours and a heavy workload are to be expected by those in low-level employment. Film production assistant Jane (Julia Garner) is no stranger to the rules; she, unlike many of her peers, must fight tooth and nail in order to fulfil her career goals of becoming a successful producer. But when the company boss is found to be engaging in indecent activity, the recent graduate can no longer stay put and follow through with business as usual. Injustice must never be silenced.
Written, directed, edited and produced by the award-winning Kitty Green, The Assistant examines the extent to which crossing hierarchical norms can affect the well-being of company members. Thematically potent in light of the ongoing Me Too debate, the film places toxic masculinity at the centre of its dispute, denigrating those who choose to use the superiority of their positions to evoke pain and suffering in others.
Slow and steady-paced, the narrative thrives in those very moments when Jane is left to her own devices, beating her brains out as to how best she can tackle the situation. Gender inequality is far from over, and the male characters in The Assistant make this notion very clear, ignoring, insulting and even belittling Jane. They draw out every ounce of confidence they can from her, so that the newcomer begins to doubt her own capabilities – even though her intellect is evidently much higher than that of her colleagues.
Visually, the film could well read as a Wall Street drama, but the delicacy of the story suggests otherwise. Instead of emphasising productivity and output, The Assistant exposes the intricacies that often manage to go undetected behind the scenes, showing that things are not always how they seem. One must look at the bigger picture.
The Assistant is released digitally on demand on 1st May 2020.
Watch the trailer for The Assistant here: