Jane (Garner) is a low-level assistant just out of college, working for a powerful and verbally abusive production executive. Her days are filled with tedious tasks and routines but the tension is ever-present, as the big boss leaves unmistakable signs of predatory instincts towards beautiful young women looking for their big breaks. Perhaps as a result, Jane must also manage the boss’s wife, who seems to be nearing a breaking point. Though many ambitious young professionals might kill for Jane’s job, you can’t help but wonder if they’re paying her enough!
The unnerving effects of Green’s deceptively subtle, unadorned drama sneak up on you, but when they do, POW! Garner carries the whole film in the title role, wordlessly conveying her wariness and barely suppressed misery as she goes through her monotonous duties, amidst myriad danger signs of victimization, denial and dysfunction.. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, this film couldn’t be timelier, but also benefits immeasurably from evoking mood over action, and suggestion over blunt exposition. Highlight: Jane goes to speak with a Human Resources officer (Macfadyen) about what she’s observing. This “Assistant” will blow you away.