Kitty Green’s The Assistant is the first great #MeToo film, a scathing look at the mundane day-to-day ways in which gender-imbalanced abuse and unfairness are built into workplace systems. Though you won’t hear Harvey Weinstein’s name uttered once, his presence is palpable throughout this clinical story about Jane (a sterling Julia Garner), whose position as the low woman on the totem pole at a film production company necessitates enduring mistreatment of both a subtle and overt sort. Whether being chastised by her boss (who’s only heard in hushed phone calls), or sharing quiet, pointed glances with her female colleagues, Jane is a victim of both exploitative men and, just as severely, a corrupt institutional structure that perpetuates itself by fostering cutthroat ruthlessness and alienating silence. Epitomized by Jane’s meeting with a cruelly calculating human resources rep (Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen), whose threats are all the more harrowing for being both implied and logical, it’s a portrait of sexism’s many insidious forms.
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