The Assistant movie poster
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The Assistant
The Assistant movie poster

The Assistant Movie Review

If you want to watch a boring young woman do boring things, look no further than The Assistant, a drama inspired by the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal that seems to try its damndest to be as least interesting as possible.

Writer/director Kitty Green focuses the camera on Julia Garner, takes all the energy and spunk and sass you’ve seen her unload in Ozark away from her, and leaves the actress to stare blankly into space, or at a computer screen, or at a phone, for the majority of The Assistant’s mercifully short 87-minute running time.

As you might expect, Garner plays a relatively new assistant to a powerful Hollywood producer who has anger issues. The movie depicts nuanced examples of sexual harassment and hints at broader sexual abuse, while refusing to address anything head on.

If you got bored reading that last paragraph, I don’t blame you. The Assistant is a nothingburger of a film, an indie exploration into the mundane, a refusal to take on its subject matter directly let alone in a fascinating way. Garner is fine in the role but is given so little to do; yes, you could argue the performance is in her facial expressions, but even then there just isn’t much to sink your teeth into.

The film’s one memorable scene—which features Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen as the company’s president of HR manager—is at least uncomfortable; the rest of the movie is uncomfortably bland.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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