The Assistant

assistant-movie-review-2020

God this movie is boring. Overwhelmingly boring. The trailer claims that it’s a thriller but that’s more than a stretch that might just be a straight up lie. The reviews for this are exceptionally bifurcated, either you’re giving it five stars or one star. Either you find this a poignant, but quiet movie that reflects the Weinstien world, or you think it’s boring. I think it’s fucking boring.

It is about an assistant at a film company. The movie starts with her getting in a car and going to work. Then we see her turn every single light in the building. I mean it when I say we watch her turn on every light in the building. Eventually others arrive to work. We do not know what kind of company she works at yet. We see her clean up a stain, and put together that it’s a cum stain from the earring on the floor. Later she returns the earring to a woman. This is the plot.

Do you know how in Gone Girl, there is that moment in the beginning where Amy disappears? And that is a thing that happens? And then later, Nick smiles at the camera and it’s a weird move, but it happens and is part of the movie? And then in the middle when we find out that Amy’s not dead but rather she kidnapped herself? And that’s a thing that happens? This movie doesn’t have anything like that. At one point in the Assistant, she’s eating fruit loops and someone walks by so she has to eat them faster. Enticing. Does this show her character? Not to me.

I gave this movie a lot. There was so much it could have done. Her boss could have been a murder, she could have been a murder. The entire production company could be full of murderers. Instead— no. Even more than that, if the movie didn’t want to go over the top and include actual murder, they could have made the mood even more oppressive. It comes off as so privileged. She lives in New York City. She doesn’t take the subway. She has a relationship with her parents. And what? She has to know that her boss isn’t faithful to his wife. I don’t understand why that is so terrible a thing.

This movie is a ‘real time thriller’ and it’s like, why do we need this? Part of the magic of a movie is that it is not real time. The story, if you are generous enough to call it that, is set over the course of one day. And I felt it. We see her wash her dishes, poory, we see her make her microwave lunch, we see her come and leave work. She doesn’t get hit by a car, but god didn’t I beg for that to happen by the end.

There is an interesting scene in the movie. (One interesting scene) Where the pace goes from snails, to elderly women walking up the stairs. The Assistant chick meets with a man in HR and the man doesn’t take her seriously. In fact he takes a phone call during their meeting. The man is effective at making her feel diminutive. In this oppersive world of the movie, he is an overlord. When she returns to her office from the HR building her two co workers know of her meeting with the HR man.

Why is it so remarkable to have a shitty job? Don’t we all have shitty jobs. Especially at that age? At times it did come off that she was just jealous that the boss wasn’t into her. But then it’s like, well we never actually saw the boss.

There are movies that tell us this story more effectively. We don’t need the exact story of an assistant to get the oppressive understanding of a male dominated and toxic workforce. There are movies that do this in a funner way, or at least a less brutlist way. Do you have to punish the audience for being interested in your movie about the wrongs of Weinstein?

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