‘The Assistant’ | Sundance 2020 Review

Directed by Kitty Green, ‘The Assistant’ follows a day in the life of a sleazy big time movie producers assistant (played by Julia Garner). This faceless womanizer and “Weinstein-like” boss has his assistant essentially brought up to handle his “personal business”. But after seeing a very young woman in his eyesight, she decides to speak up and tell the truth.

It’s hard to say this is my least favorite feature because of the content material, because it’s not the subject matter at all that destroys this film from having the impact it needs. No, where the film fails is in its ability to engage the viewer with the mundane, slow paced, and inconsequential sequences showing a secretary be, well a secretary.

There are long drawn out takes of putting away files, cleaning a microwave, vacuuming, and literally do nothing for the story but to put the audience to sleep. I understand the intention was to show how boring life as a secretary is but save that for a documentary. If I’m watching a feature film I expect to have my time taken seriously, but you can literally start the film at the second act and not miss a thing.

The film finally decided to begin halfway through, with the most impactful and important scenes with the HR rep. I was very engaged at that scene, but the film again doesn’t know how to keep the story engaging and drops off immediately after. The ending is lazy, doesn’t try to make any statement, and the characters just aren’t realistic. If they made any attempt to entertain, a score, maybe fast paced editing, ANYTHING else would be better than what we got.

Overall, there are performances, there is acting, there are a couple scenes that are impactful, but this is a waste of time. Many films like Bombshell have told this story but was engaging enough to matter. I will consider it if I need to sleep, and an ambien isn’t doing the trick.

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