I wouldn't call writer-director Kitty Green's The Assistant, hitting theaters Jan. 31, a strictly #MeToo era film. Of course, the plot obviously has much to do with the Harvey Weinstein reckoning (with a trial that is currently underway), as well as the larger conversation around gendered abuses of power in public and professional spheres. But more specifically, this is a film about the U.S. film industry's failure to support workers' rights—especially those of workers who are part of historically marginalized communities. The right to not be abused—sexually, emotionally, or otherwise—at work should always be at the center of these conversations. But for years and years, the film industry, from the production assistants (in offices and on set) to leading talent, has refused to take the conditions of its most junior employees seriously; the rub is that many of the employees who have managed to climb the ranks are in some way complicit in aiding the abuse.
The Assistant follows, with close-ups and a patient yet eerily still camera, recent Northwestern graduate and aspiring film producer Jane (Julia Garner), who has been working as an assistant to a high-powered film producer for five weeks.