Many folks such as Ethan Anderton of SlashFilm will state that The Assistant isn’t about Harvey Weinstein and the scandal he was a huge component of, at least not directly, but they will go into great detail about how the scandal did manage to inspire this movie and how it’s about the many women that have reportedly been subjected to the same working environments that the young woman in this movie does. It’s a hard argument to stand against since these days the likelihood of being reported for just about anything is so high that almost any situation can be likened to this. But in The Assistant there does seem to be a massive problem when a young woman goes to work for an entertainment mogul and notices in one day just how much controversy there is on the job. Julia Garner no doubt had her work cut out for her on this one since unlike her time on Ozark up to this point it doesn’t seem as though her character was given a lot of leeway to have an attitude or make demands, at least not from what we’ve seen thus far. It does look like she’s the type that’s going to do what she needs to in order to get by and make the job work somehow despite the depressing nature of it.
What’s really interesting about this movie is that we don’t get to see the boss at all it looks like as he’s a presence within the movie that has a great deal of control but no need to show his face. Instead Garner’s character is handled from afar and she’s controlled in a way that brings to mind puppet strings that she might try to cut at one point only to find that she’s unable to do so without ruining what little career she has. In the history of women in the workplace there’s been a great deal inequality that has gone on and this movie is definitely commenting on it since there’s no other way to think of it other than to think that it’s alluding to the MeToo movement and Weinstein in a very close manner. Some people might roll their eyes at this but others are no doubt going to be paying close attention to every decision made by the director when it comes to touching upon one matter or another that has been seen so prominently in the last several years in regards to women in the workplace. Jude Dry of IndieWire calls this a movie with a great deal of cultural significance and it’s hard to argue largely because it does carry a great deal of importance when talking about women in the workplace and in society.
Movies are often seen to comment on society and its many different facets, and there have been several throughout the years that have been made either to remind us or to showcase parts of our society that we may not pay attention to or that some feel we don’t give enough importance to at times. Almost always there are two distinct directions that such movies can go, as they can rise and become important cultural pieces that people will hold up as an example of what is right or wrong with our society, or they can be virtually ignored and seen as so much whining, bleating, whatever you’d like to call it. The Assistant is bound to be a movie that’s remembered at this point and time as it deals with a very heavy and important matter that has been building for some time in American society. Women desiring more important roles and being made to deal with a great amount of pressure and overall stress in the workplace due to their limited roles at times has become a massive issue that has persisted for many years but has made slow but measured progress. It’s very true that women in the workplace have had to deal with a great deal of nonsense that has gone on while they were working and affected them directly. Some movies make this quite clear that women are fed up and have had enough, though The Assistant looks ready to cut to the quick and say the same thing in a very rugged and point-blank manner.
That’s what gets the attention of the people though, and it’s what the audience wants and will pay good money to see. If it’s drama, controversy, or something that will somehow make them feel better about themselves or give them a spectacle to watch then it’s likely that they’ll watch and possibly even call the movie one of the best they’ve ever seen. The movie does seem worth a watch since it tackles a very big issue, but it might also be wise to take it with a grain of salt.