The Assistant

Written by Taylor Baker


This is my first Kitty Green picture, and I feel like a fool. 

Watching Julia Garner’s Jane be slowly crushed, prodded, and gaslit could have easily been mishandled and the story could have attempted to make things bigger and more exciting than reality, like so many movies do. This screenplay instead strips back everything to the bare essentials. An overworked and likely emotionally abused assistant going about a full day of work, beginning with her trip into the office and ceasing on her exit.

There’s dozens of little mouth contortions, chin quivers, posture shifts, and darting eye movements that Garner uses to cement Jane and her experience during this single day directly into the viewer. She is absolutely one of the most exciting actresses to see develop into their full potential. For those that like her here and have already seen her award winning performance in Ozark, you must see her performance in the Netflix streaming series Dirty John. The score and sound design deserve a large amount of credit here for creating and keeping the attention of the viewer with a brooding pace that never comes off as rushed. Instead–it was as if we were slowly being squeezed, until we broke or couldn’t breathe. What a shame it’s not getting wider distribution.

I recommend it.

Note from the Writer: This review was originally written during the limited theatrical release period.

Taylor Baker originally posted this review on Letterboxd 02/13/20

Discussed on Drink in the Movies Episode 56.

View it on Kanopy and Hulu

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