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“THE ASSISTANT” Thought Provoking

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

The motion picture The Assistant is a thought provoking look into being a film production house assistant. Making it dramatic as best she can, Director Kitty Green shows one day in the life of the person who has to put up with office chores, setting up trips for her boss and staff, running interference with the boss’s wife, and other menial jobs that fill her day in the movie business. While the film does lag a lot with her boring duties, it’s a set up for the predictable finale that makes it worth watching.

Julia Garner stars as Jane in THE ASSISTANT, a Bleecker Street release. Credit: Ty Johnson / Bleecker Street

Jane (Julia Garner) has been with the movie production company as an assistant to the big boss for about 6 weeks already mastering her duties and performing them well. She gets a lot of orders from staff along with her regular mundane obligations and in some cases takes the heat when something awkward takes place in the office. She makes arrangements for meetings that are sometimes at the spur of the moment and keeps the office tidy even though in some cases it’s not her job. Dedicated to doing the best job possible, Jane puts herself between the problems of the staffers and administration to get them off the hook because she thinks they in turn will protect her when she screws up.

Julia Garner (left) stars as Jane and Kristine Froseth (right) stars as Sienna in THE ASSISTANT, a Bleecker Street release. Credit: Ty Johnson / Bleecker Street

Director and writer Kitty Green does a good job of bringing Jane to life in the one day, almost as if it’s probably a snippet of her own life in the business. However, if she had made it more Hollywood instead of reality, the storyline would have been more enjoyable to watch. It needed the excellent buildup of Jane’s work at the office including the many responsibilities and problems she faces, but Green should have added something more extraordinary to her day than what we get to see. Instead you can figure out the finale way before the lights go out in the office. I’m sure industry people will have a good laugh, but nothing funny here. It’s a shame, because a surprise ending with a twist would have worked magic for the movie instead of being a “docudrama” that ends with…ho hum!

I did like the acting of Julia Garner as Jane as she puts some reality in the young woman’s day at the office. Spot on, she wants to keep her job and maybe even get ahead, but in the all-male office she’s more of a pawn that can easily be replaced by the hundreds wanting for her to make a mistake and get job. You should remember Garner for several of her past performances like Susan in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Marcie in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, especially as Lilly Tomlin’s granddaughter in Grandma and a full season of “The Americans” as the spy Kimberly Breland.

Matthew Macfadyen stars as Wilcock in THE ASSISTANT, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Ty Johnson / Bleecker Street

The Assistant has been rated R by the MPAA for some language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A nice display of acting, but there’s no punch in the ending. (3 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Julia Garner, Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth, Stephanye Dussud, Juliana Canfield, Alexander Chaplin
Directed and written by: Kitty Green
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: Rated R for some language (also some thematic elements)
Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min,
Opening Date: February 21, 2020
Distributed by: Bleecker Street Films
Released in: Theaters

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