The Assistant

The trailer for The Assistant is a triumph in marketing. Julia Garner looks properly frazzled as the singularly named Jane, who apparently stumbles upon an evil and exploitive plot while working for an indie studio. The trailer ends with Jane facing a Human Resources head, bravely asking: “What can we do?” – only for the HR guy to chillingly reply, “Do about what?” The Assistant, however, is a baffling look at the drudgery of working for a creep who’s clearly meant to be Harvey Weinstein. Writer and director Kitty Green seemingly has no idea what a male or female assistant really does at a place like Miramax. Anyone with experience will roll their eyes for most of the movie. Then it’s meant to be a big deal when a new assistant is hired who barely has any experience and is clearly just brought in as a new mistress for Jane’s boss. This inspires an outraged Jane to finally sit down with the HR head so he can deliver his big line. By then, the audience sees his point. (“What was she complaining about?” laughed an African-American woman after a recent Manhattan screening, with a white gal inclusively joining the mockery: “She needed the help!”) The script seems to agree, and leaves The Assistant winding down in exhaustion. Viewers, however, have no reason to doubt that Jane will soon be one of the powerful female executives that she watches leaving the office at the end of her ludicrous day.