In the first onscreen depiction of the man whose actions launched the #MeToo movement, the Boss, a Harvey Weinstein-like character who looms large in “The Assistant,” does not appear once. Instead, in Kitty Green’s urgent real-time thriller, we see hints of his toxic behavior and furtive abuse through the eyes of a lowly assistant, who is always just outside the door or on the other side of the phone. “Ozark” breakout Julia Garner carries the film on her shoulders, in a role that is earning her much praise. The first official trailer for “The Assistant” offers a glimpse of a role that is sure to launch her career even further; she is timid but determined as she pieces together the unimaginable.
Per the film’s official synopsis, it “follows one day in the life of Jane (Garner), a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant’s — making coffee, changing the paper in the copy machine, ordering lunch, arranging travel, taking phone messages, onboarding a new hire. As Jane follows her daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.”
In his B+ review out of this year’s Telluride Film Festival, where the film premiered, Eric Kohn wrote that the film has a “stunning performance at its center … there’s no doubting the hypnotic power of a movie that digs inside Weinstein’s harrowing reign and observes the mechanics that allowed it to last so long. A quiet work with major ambitions, ‘The Assistant’ is a significant cultural statement in cinematic form.”
Best known for the innovative true-crime documentary “Casting JonBenet,” Green’s first fiction feature utilizes her journalistic chops to imbue the thriller with an eerie sense of reality.
“The Assistant” had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival to critical acclaim and will be released on January 31, 2020. The film will lead off Bleecker Street’s 2020 release slate, following by “Ordinary Love” on February 14, Sally Potter’s untitled latest on March 13, “Military Wives” on March 27, and “Dream Horse” on May 1.
Check out the unnerving trailer below.