Arthouse Garage Podcast

Podcast Transcript for Episode 38: The Assistant

Read the Podcast Transcript for Episode 38: The Assistant

Read the transcript below:

Hello, hello and welcome back to art house garage, the snob free film Podcast, where we make art house indie classic and foreign cinema accessible to the masses. I’m your host Andrew Sweatman, and this is episode 38 of the podcast. We are two episodes into season six, which is looking at the best films of 2020. This season is all about the award contenders, the buzzy films The Best of the year that might be winnings and trophies in the coming months. Today’s film actually had its festival release back in 2019. But it did not hit theaters until January 2020. That seems so long ago. Now remember, January. Remember movie theaters? Remember pre COVID life? Enough about that today’s film is the Assistant directed by kitty green and starring Julia Garner. It’s a fascinating film very minimal in its style, but very heavy in its subject matter. Julia plays Jane who works as an assistant for a movie studio. As the story unfolds, she begins to realize that her boss, a powerful movie executive is sexually abusing women. This story may sound familiar if you follow the news for the last few years. It does parallel real life. But the film’s focus is on Jane, What should she do in this situation? How does she handle this? How many other people at her workplace know this is going on? It’s emotionally intense, and it’s incredibly thought provoking, not to mention very well acted and directed. Joining me for this conversation is my friend Sophie Barnes. Sophie is a filmmaker here in Arkansas and has directed a number of short films, as well as acting producing you name it. She’s very talented at what she does. And she’s full of thoughts and insights when it comes to discussing films and filmmaking. Thank you so much for being here. Sophie

Of course. Hello.

Before we get into the assistant, let’s talk about what you’ve got going on right now. I recently saw you in a short film called a lullaby, directed by Claire Barnett. And I actually talked about that a little bit on IGTV. So you can file I’ll link that in the show notes. And kind of my reaction to that I really liked that film. I think you are wonderful in it. So thank you for that. But what else are what’s the status of that? Is that still going to festivals? And then what else do you have going on right now?

Yeah, um, so yeah, I did act in Claire’s film earlier, I guess. Yeah. Last year. That’s so going through festival. She’s got some high hopes for it. We’ve all got high hopes for it. So hopefully, that will kind of move through and we’ll see News, New screenings popping up. But I’m actually acting at Her next film, which is called Moth.

And that is it’s still through UCA Lullaby was a UCA production film. And Moth will be her senior thesis film. Yeah, so it’s about a woman who is going into labor. And she essentially enters an elevator without her partner, who is joining her for the whole ordeal. And starts to freak out and then the elevator like shuts down. And she’s stuck in the elevator, giving birth essentially. And then she’s kind of visited by some women from her past her sister, her mother and her grandmother. And it’s still in it’s still in development. So this isn’t like, confirm everything that’s gonna happen. But that’s sort of the log line. And so yeah, I don’t know if like I hopefully Claire’s not like, Why’d you do that?

Oh, yeah. But but i think i think it’ll be fine. Um, yeah. So that’s, that’s kind of like in the works.

And so we’ll shoot that next spring.

With like, all the COVID you know, like guidelines and everything. But yeah, but we’re excited.

Well, that sounds fascinating. And you’re kind of sound. So with Lola bites, it seems pretty straightforward. And then it kind of goes to that place that’s a little like metaphysical or something outside of, you know, strictly reality starts happening. And that’s surprising, but fun. So this sounds like maybe kind of along those same lines.

It absolutely is. So if you liked that part of Obi and whoever watches this, if you like, you know, Claire’s kind of direction lullaby you’ll definitely like what she has planned for a month for sure. That’s great. And then other than that, I don’t really have much going on other than working and just like writing. And I’m I’m like, I guess I’ve been an actress since I was a kid, in whatever sense, but I’ve also been a writer director. Since well. And so I went to school like to make movies, not just acting them, but to make them. So yeah, I have several films that are still sort of showing in different places, mainly in the state. I’ve also working on another feature by my friend, David Cruz, who also had a film at filmland.

And my boyfriend is the producer. So we’re working on it sort of together. He’s the main producer. And then he’s just like, so can you do this? And I’m like, Sure, why not? So I’m just sort of like, I guess I’m a PA, in a sense, like an office assistant kind of like, yeah, this enjoying my, my downtime after school? For sure. Let’s go.

That’s my sense of the UCA kind of film world is that everyone’s collaborating and helping each other out? And it seems like a really kind of a healthy space for creative outlets there.

I would agree with that, for sure.

Well, cool. I’ll link to all the details again, for all those in the show notes. So everyone can be involved. And then as new things happen, I’ll post them on our house garage, Facebook, as well. But yeah, I guess let’s move on and talk about the assistant.


I’ve seen whatever’s going on. You can tell me that’s what I’m here for.

You’re relatively new to the company.

I mean, I’ve been working here for nearly two months. And you’re under a lot of stress. entry level jobs in this industry are tough, right?

long hours.

First one in last one out. Night, smart. You have to be smart. It’s a tough job. But I can see that you’ve got what it takes.

I want those new pages where I get on the promising first thing where we are 200.

Maybe you can put in a good word for you know, externally.

Listen, his schedule has shifted to 7pm work. They’ll ask the hotel, guess

what? This is Turkey. I said chicken.

There’s a call waiting by her. She’s been in before few times.

What is it? The wife sees an important meal. So he’s in screaming?

I overreacted. It was not my place to question your decision, I will not let you down again.

You know, you can always come to us, right? Come to us first. Okay.

All right, let’s talk about the assistant. So this is a film from director kitty green. It tells the story of a young woman named Jane played by Julia Garner, who works as an assistant for a film production company in New York. And over the course of the film, she becomes aware that her boss is sexually abusing women. And so this parallels some real life high profile sexual abuse cases in Hollywood from the last few years. So it’s very timely in that sense. And the film also explores kind of just like what a day in the life looks like for Jane. And in the moral dilemma that she kind of finds herself in. she discovers this.

There’s a number of interesting kind of filmmaking choices made here. And I want to get into all those but I think the first thing I want to ask you Sophie’s since you as a filmmaker in many areas, but as an actor, that the performance is really key to this. So I wanted to see how familiar are you with Julia Garner, elsewhere? And then what did you think of her performance here? Uh, yeah, I’m super familiar with Julia Garner, maybe not like Uber like obsessive fan level, but she did a film in 2012 called electric children.

by Rebecca Thomas, I think is her name.

Or Yes, yes, Rebecca Thomas. And she, she actually went to grad school with one of the professors at UCA, Jennifer Gerber, who also has made several features or a feature in the state and she’s working on another one. But Rebecca Thomas got to visit school, like ewca before I even got there, and I found out like when I got there, and I was like, Oh my god, like, Are you kidding me? electric children was my favorite movie for years and years. I mean, I still kind of put it up there. I wouldn’t like say it’s my favorite right now. Because there’s stuff that’s kind of moved in the space but Julia Garner has, like always been one of my

I don’t know favorite young actresses like I like she electric children. I specifically like attach myself or like kind of

maybe not attached myself but like, resonated yeah resonated with several things that she did like several little choices she made and then aspects of the plot and like electric

Children’s about a girl who is in she lives in a like a

commune, I guess sort of, but it’s like a it’s more of a it’s a Mormon camp or camion.


she like, does her first confession and then she wants to hear the sound of her voice on the tape that was recorded for a confession. So she goes into this basement and finds this tape and listen to herself. But then she finds this other tape and it’s blue. And it’s like the only one that’s blue and she puts it in listen to it in this rock song. And she thinks it like impregnates her and so then she go or like whatever. It’s like a whole this whole thing. And Rory Culkin Zin it anyway, long story short, I love Julie Garner have always loved her. And this is definitely different. The assistant performance is different from the electric children performance.

And I thought I thought she did a good I thought she did a great job. I was like, I wasn’t disappointed in any way. Like there was there was no disappointment at the end. As the credits rolled, there was no disappointment with the performance. It was just kind of, you know, it’s it’s one that I need to watch more and more. Because it’s a subtle performance.

Yeah, I let you kind of say something about that. Yeah, I agree. I think I think the performance and a lot of things about this movie are really minimal and subtle and kind of understated. First of all, electric children. sounds fascinating. You mentioned it the other day when we were just messaging and I kind of glanced at it, but I love stories that are kind of like setting kind of extreme religious situations. That sounds really interesting. And then the where I know her from primarily is the show Ozark. Yeah, it’s interesting, cuz she has a really thick Southern accent and that it’s and she that’s not her normal accent. And I knew that but it’s just jarring to hear her and hear using, you know, her regular voice, I presume. But then then I look back at her from ographers. And I’ve seen her in a lot of different things as like minor characters, I guess. And she’s in Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I don’t remember who she is in it. But I’ve seen seen that it’s on you to go back. And look, she is in a miniseries called maniac as well, that I’ve seen most of us haven’t finished yet. b. So she’s kind of been in a lot of different things. But yeah, I thought the performance here was really good. I think it is, as you said subtle. There’s a few moments that that kind of stood out to me is like, Wow, she’s she’s doing a lot here. But it’s and using it kind of within that framework of subtlety maybe like, the moment I think about, so she’s, she’s tasked with speaking to the boss’s wife on the phone a couple of times.

Mostly because she’s a woman. And we’ll kind of talk about that part of it too, I think. But yeah, after the second one, she and she says I’m not gonna lie to her. And so she kind of is honest, it’s like, I don’t know where he is, etc. But then after she hangs up, like the moment she hangs up, and it just lingers on her while she’s kind of processing everything that she just experienced, I just, and you can tell she’s like, dreading the aftermath of this, like, he’s going to be furious. She’s feeling a lot of anxiety. Like she thinks she did the right thing. She’s not sure that you can just kind of feel a lot of that just under the surface, that she’s just sitting at her desk, like standing and worried. So I think that was a good moment. And then also the ending, which I think we can, there’s not really a ton to spoil or not spoil about this movie, but maybe we can withhold just like whether she’s able to make a big difference, you know, kind of where this ends up. Yeah, but I think in the end, she she’s sitting in a deli by herself. And she’s been kind of just working really hard all day. And we just have been like, good posture upright, just doing her job. And then she kind of crumbles on this table and kind of leans over and you just kind of finally see her like, sort of be herself, I guess and kind of let her guard down. And obviously she’s asleep. Yeah, you can tell she’s so tired. Yeah. Yeah. Because she’s I mean, this film starts at like, like 430 in the morning or something. It’s not clear what she’s getting, like an Uber or something from her house. And it’s way before the crack of dawn. Right. So yeah, I did think is a really good performance. And I I’m excited to see, you know, it could follow her career as she continues to act. I think she’s very talented. Yeah, she’s won. She didn’t win the Emmy this year. But she did win it last year, like we said, Yeah, and I mean, when that happened, I was like, heck yes. Julia like Yes, ma’am. Because I’ve been a fan of her for so long. Yeah, man, she’s great.

So speaking of kind of the subtlety and understated ness of it, I want to kind of talk about the style of the movie. It is really minimal and understated, but you can tell it’s incredibly in

tensional the things that are, you know, included, and things that are not included. So wanted to talk a little bit about the style of this.

If for one thing like the camera, I don’t I think it moves a few times, but I was kind of halfway through it. I was like, I think the camera has been stationary almost this whole time. So it’s, it’s kind of

feels kind of modern. That’s a weird word to say maybe, but like that the office set design is just kind of a modern office. But the camera Yes, is still there’s some really unnerving angles where it’s kind of looking down at her.

Like almost a paranoid kind of feeling. I think

there’s some shots where she’s, like alone in the frame. And it’s just kind of small in the frame. And I think that kind of points to how alone she feels in this situation. Kind of the isolation of this. I think I think isolation is a word I would use to describe the feeling of this movie. Is she she I think she’s on camera on screen almost almost the entire film and race alone, physically and then definitely emotionally for pretty much the whole thing. But yeah, yeah. What else do you think about the style of it? Go ahead. Well, so yes. Is it super static film, which is like, what something you notice with a film immediately, especially if you’re starting to feel a little claustrophobic because of that, which is not necessarily how I felt. But I I made a film like two years ago, that was super static. And people were like, Man, I wish she’d gotten more movement. I wish she’d be on this. I was like, No, the point. The point was to be static, like the point was to be bla bla bla. But yeah, I loved I loved this static, like, Dolly, kind of, like, if there was any movement, I feel like it was just Dolly stuff like, yeah. And so.

And I’m a fan of that. And that kind of reminds me of shantel ackermans work from, like the 60s 70s 80s, particularly john D Mo,

which I love that movie. And it’s, you know, certainly the assistant is kind of in that realm, because a lot of it is just her doing her work, doing what she’s supposed to be doing at her job as like, rather than trying to, like, have the movie is that and then have the movie is trying to tell the story of what she’s discovering.

But there’s like a good whatever, like 3035 minutes of her just at work, just doing what she does, in seeing her seeing her trying to trying to keep a happy face. And kind of going back to the performance aspect.

Like she, I think Julia Garner does a terrific job of

showing just what it feels like to be in a dream job. That’s kind of disappointing. Like, that’s kind of that’s kind of giving, like, it’s not giving you everything you hoped it would like she’s gotten this job that like he’s the chairman like she’s pretty, she’s pretty up there in terms of who she’s assisting, although she’s still an assistant, and she’s going around and she’s talking to people all day, and she’s closest to his office and everything like that. But she’s still like she’s being berated. She’s being she’s being taught, she’s being condescended to and talked down to by her co workers, the you know, the interactions with higher ups are less than less than Okay, they’re less than pleasing.

And so and I kind of resonate with that

sort of like the kind of like the dry tone in a way

because it is it for me it was dry in the sense that it’s trying to give you just what’s happening and not but I do think it kind of certainly leans toward her side and

towards that toward kind of what this film is a little more biased towards which is

like we don’t see the we don’t see the actual events of any sexual abuse. We just see what’s what people are encountering on the on the sidelines. But in terms of in terms of like static and just like kind of the misery in terms in like stationary or static films. szanto argument comes to mind and then I honestly kind of got some Edward Hopper vibes. Like there’s a there’s a painting

and I don’t know exactly what it’s called, but it’s in a movie theater, and it’s a woman just like off to the side like leaning

Leaning on the side of the wall like out, like right behind the curtain to enter into the movie theater.

And it’s really cool because she’s on the like, she’s on the really hard right side of the frame.

And that that actually happens in the film. There’s an there’s a part I think it’s when she’s she’s waiting on the waiting for the elevator at some point. And she’s like, hard right on the set on the right side of the frame.

And I was like, oh, Edward Hopper. That’s an Edward Hopper. That’s totally an Edward Hopper reference. That’s, um, yeah, I loved the static though I loved that choice to be static. I don’t know that it would have worked. If it were like, David Lynch, like movement, you know?

That would have, it would have been totally, it would have worked in a totally different way. But it’s not the way that it worked. In this particular iteration. Yeah, I totally agree. First of all, that gentle Ackerman is a filmmaker that I have. It’s been a big blind spot for me. And so I’ve been kind of looking like what should I kind of marathon through next that she’s been on my list is another point in favor of me cat finally catching up with ourselves. But yeah, as far as that static that you’re talking about that the most recent film that I can remember that was static in this way is first performed the movie from few years ago with Ethan Hawke, and the cameras really still do the whole thing. There’s a few notable exceptions to that. But as listening to like podcasts that year, when it was coming out, the director Paul Schrader, talked about, I’ve talked about this on a previous episode, too, but like, the transcendental style is kind of what he’s all about. But he talks about using even boredom as a as a tool to like, almost lo the audience or,

I don’t know, kind of get them into a certain headspace before you show them something else. Do I think maybe this is kind of doing a similar thing. I think it’s kind of, like mundane for the first little bit like you mentioned, it’s just showing her doing her job for a long time. And I think that I get to the point that I was like, okay, when is when are we going to find out about her boss? Because like, and even once you’ve meet the boss character, sort of, you know, we don’t ever see him, which is another interesting choice. That I think we see him. Yeah, I think we do. Like I watched it again today. And I think one of the guys like when she’s picking up the pastry, and she puts in her mouth. I think one of those guys is her boss. There’s like a flat. Yes, it’s just him like, or it’s just him like looking at her. And you don’t like that. I think the key there is that you don’t know who those people are. And you don’t know that that’s her boss, but I’m pretty sure that’s her boss.

Because I think I saw his outfit like walking in the room in his meeting room or his office. At one point anyway, but I think it’s just like that one time, but it’s so nondescript. I love that. Yeah, he’s like an off screen kind of movie monster almost like I think about like, monster movies where you don’t see the the, the creature for a long time, it kind of had that vibe. Like March we’re gonna see him Maybe not. Yeah, but yeah, and just that, that kind of mundaneness I think. So one other thing about the style is the color palette, I think it’s pretty like muted and kind of, it’s like, there’s very little, it’s a kind of cold, I guess, almost like it’s pulled the, the natural color out of things. Which I think kind of that and the sort of the mundanity is, is almost like highlighting that this is like business as usual. Like this is just another boring day to boring job. And yet something so sinister is right below the surface. And it’s kind of just yeah, I think highlighting how undetected stuff like this can go

to I thought that was a good choice as well. So yeah, I love

Sorry, no, you’re fine. I love the color choice. And I’m a, I’m a fan of, like, just sucking all the sucky all the saturation out of it out of out of a piece. And that’s, that’s what happens. like totally, but also like with the the color as well. Yeah, like it wouldn’t make sense for this to have like a lot of warm, pretty colors. Because, you know, it would be really bizarre. And so yeah, I think it just makes sense. And it’s, yeah, I think a nice touch. And that kind of leads into so we can kind of talk about the abuse. And so we’re actually just like the feminism of this film, because I think it’s this is kind of the one big obvious thing like, this is sexual abuse, and we need to stop it. But then I think there’s some other kind of subtle things too. But I want to see your reaction. What did you think of this like as a feminist work? Did that work on that level for you?

I thought it did. Um, you know, part of me, he wouldn’t be surprised if this character of Jane was like, a little less feminist before this moment. I don’t know. I guess I’m thinking about it.

For myself, trying to put myself into Jane shoes, and thinking about if I were at this job or whatever I know, I know, for a fact I would be

the I would act the exact same way that she does trying to aiming to please. Part of her, like, in certain circumstances is like, okay, EFF off, like, I don’t want to, I don’t want to deal with these people, I don’t want to deal with you, like, you know, let me do my job. And then part of her is like, Okay, why am I Why am I getting a little bit different treatment? Just I mean, she’s been there for five weeks. And

I kind of understood, I know that, that she’s being treated in whatever way because she’s new. But there’s also this kind of part where she’s smaller, and she can kind of be taken advantage of. So I think the represent like Jane, sort of as the representative of like,

the feminist kind of goals of this film, I felt like she was I felt like she was a nice representation. But something lacked for me, maybe in terms of like, the feminist voice or the sort of like, progressive voice or whatever, from this from this piece. Like, maybe it was just like how static and cold it was. Yeah. And maybe I’m just like, a very attached to, like, exciting, like, move, like, full of movement, like colorful, emotional, nostalgic pieces. And this wasn’t bad at all. And so maybe that’s sort of my like, my own, like, personal interpretation, but I don’t know that the like feminism in the film, like fully satisfied me. Sure.

But I did love I and I think this may be what you’re getting at, but I loved the little moments, where Jane, what had interactions with men or women in the office, and you could see differences between who treated her how and why. And when and all that stuff. Like her interactions with the kind of scrawny are, like, honestly, more annoying, like, both

were so annoying. Like I, oh, my lord heaven. And I love and I think that’s effective. Like, I know, I know that that was the goal was the goal is for them to be just so obnoxious. And like, when she when she’s on the phone with the wife, she she does absolutely nothing wrong. She’s just trying to get this woman to shut up and get off the phone because she doesn’t know how to help her. And, and then the other she’s like typing her apology, and the guy’s like, and you need to add this, this and this and I’m like, I’m like, but she doesn’t even need to apologize in the first place. Like so ridiculous.

But like their, their interactions with her and like this the guy with the the headpiece like can you take this like you need to take this because you’re a woman and you need to handle this. I’m like, oh, he like throws a piece of paper at her to like, get her attention.

Oh my god.

Yeah, so bad. And then just like the big like the hefty like pat on the back that the the one who sits next to her gives her when I’m typing that response that he does it again, or he doesn’t do the pat on the back again, but he like, helps her with her email again, helps in quotation marks.

Yeah, that I mean, and if we’re like referencing that, in terms of like the feminists like sort of non agenda, but like the Yeah, like what’s going on? Like, in terms of feminism in this movie? I think that was, I think that was more one of the truer

interactions or like truer things that I saw in the film that like, I felt like I’ve experienced this. I’ve experienced like, Dude saying, just really dumb things. And I’m like, okay, just go just go about your business. I’m perfectly competent, I can do what I need to do. You know? Yeah, yeah. I love all that. That totally makes sense. And I wanted to hear what you had to say. Because I mean, I’ve never been a woman in an office environment. But I have witnessed sexism in an office environment before. But yeah, I think that that all totally makes sense. I definitely had that sense of like, boys club kind of vibes, especially with those two assistants, but then her few interactions with the executives and stuff to it just, it’s great. And then she’s also kind of delegated to like the quote unquote, like traditionally feminine things like cleaning up doing the dishes. She has to like babysit at one point, which is like, the reason she has to be the one talking to the wife and they just kind of sticker with these things.

Yeah, I think it you can kind of say, Oh, it’s because she’s the newest and she doesn’t have seniority or something. But he’s also the only female there. And it just seems like there has to be part of it. But yeah, and that kind of gets to to like, so looking at the whole system of abuse. I think that if you’ve learned anything about how these things work in last few years, they’ve all been coming out in the news and things. It’s like, there’s a system in place, like it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And that’s why when she discovers it, it’s like, it’s like, what do I even do? It’s like, and I think like, the emotional moments in this, like, the shocking moments in this are all, which is interacting with someone, it’s not clear whether they know or not about what’s going on. And then there’s like, a moment when it’s like, okay, they know not doing anything, and that I won’t spoil how many times that happened. But right, yeah, but there are a few moments that are like that. And

yeah, so. So like, when she first finds out, she immediately goes to the HR, which that scene is fascinating. One of my favorite scenes, probably not because of what happens, it’s infuriating, but it’s, I think, a performance of the HR guy, which I can’t remember the actor’s name right now, but Matthew McFadden, yes. That’s him. He Yeah, he’s he’s so interesting. He because he seems, you know, he’s kind and gonna listen, and then it just goes very downhill and yeah, right. Yeah, I actually thought he was gonna I thought he was gonna play the executive when I like, cuz I had no clue about any of the like, I didn’t watch the trailer, or anything. So I was like, going into the movie thinking he was gonna be like, a big part of the movie. And I was like, I was super like, I was happy with what I you know, what, what it gave me in terms of his performance. I just totally came in thinking like, it was gonna be like, I’m just gonna be Julie Garner Matthew McMansion movie, and it wasn’t. Um, but ya know, that HR scene reminds me a lot of like, in college, I did student government.

And I had, like, I was an executive vice president, like for I was elected in the spring. And then I served throughout the summer, and I was supposed to serve like the entire year. And some people just did not want me to be in the job anymore. Like lots of people. And not lots of people that were like, my friends, they were people who like we’re all like, I, they were like, all similar in terms of their ideals, their values, like they all were in the same organizations outside of SGA. And like, it was all like, led by the president who was like, my, I worked closest with him because I was his vice president. So I was like, doing things in conjunction with him. And he was like, leading this crew of people who like, wanted to remove me from my position. And I went to talk to, like an advisor about the whole situation. And they didn’t, they didn’t act like the HR guy in this movie. But they did act like him in like, like not, they didn’t treat me the way that he treats Julia, or Jane rather. But they kind of were like, Well, I mean, it’s like, it’s like you You have all this quote, unquote, evidence, but what what level of evidence is it? It’s not really evidence against anything, and it’s totally a different, it’s a different situation. But it’s like, it reminds me of just like, that horrible feeling of knowing that there’s something wrong, there’s something wrong with the situation you’re in and you can easily you know, attend to convince every last person you see about that. But then at the end of the day, does it really matter? Because people aren’t going to people aren’t gonna value your experience, the way that you are valuing the negative experiences that you’ve had. It’s, it’s like, terribly infuriating, and it’s traumatizing and all that.

And so I wish I part of me like I’m not a happy ending kind of person for a movie. Like I don’t I don’t care about happy endings, but part of me really just wanted

well, and I guess we did get that because j, the the fourth assistant, the one who comes in from Idaho, they sort of have a moment where she’s like, okay, we’re gonna see each other tomorrow. And she’s like, yeah, and so it’s almost like she has a teammate now, but that teammate is also like, she’s in she’s just in the throes of all this because she’s now part of the abuse that’s happening. Just like Jane essentially is just by being like adjecent to all this information and everything that’s happening. Yeah, that’s all fascinating. Well, first of all, thanks for sharing that personal story, that that kind of stuff.

It ties in. And

that’s really interesting. But yeah, I think you’re right. It’s, and that’s, that’s another level of this is like now that she knows and like, what does she do about it? Is she complicit by still working there? And, you know, how much are we, you know, if we’re a small cog in a big machine? How much are we, you know, responsible for the sins of an organization? That’s a question I’ve asked myself in the past, even like, silly ways of like, I worked at a fast food restaurant, and I thought, you know, am I like, killing people by handing them their food? Like, slowly? Yeah, you know, how much should I worry about that? And, and other jobs too, in more serious ways. I’ve had that kind of feeling too. So this kind of hit home in that way of, like, what would you do in the situation like that? And you know, this is a quote unquote, good job for her and, and her dad even says, like, is a great opportunity. But as you said, She’s obviously disappointed with how it’s going and then becomes horrific in this day in her life.

Yeah, I didn’t even think about that. As far as the, you know, I’ll see you tomorrow situation with with that other coworkers. Yeah, it is, I guess there’s a glimmer of hope of like, they’re in this together in some way. And like, maybe they’re going to be able to

continue to do something. But yeah, but they also might just be stuck. They might be just sort of like in a cage together. Like they’re, it’s just like, she got a she got a cell mate, kind of

because they’re gonna be treated the same way. If not, the, the new girl will be treated in a different way than Jane is treated, but it’s still not, it’s not going to be happy times for her she’s going to be harassed in different ways than Jane is harassed and abused in different ways than Jane is abused. And so it’s like, it’s almost like those two are like a dichotomy of women in like male dominated workforces? Like, I guess, sort of like, the more desirable one versus the,

the the, like, not more hard working one, but the but the kind of


yeah, I mean, it’s reminded me of that the horrifying line when someone says, Don’t worry, you’re not his type, like, yes, yes. I think that’s probably the moment in the movie when it was like, Oh, my gosh, like, my heart just sinks, you know? Yes. Absolutely. And, and so she’s like, Oh, cool. I, you know, love that. I love to hear that. I’m not someone and then it’s like, there’s so many different, like, there’s, at least there’s two different.

There’s two different kind of takeaways from that line, that you’re not as tired. Oh, I’m not gonna, you know, I’m not going to be sexually abused. But I my boss, because he contracted to me.

And that makes me what, how do I feel about that? Do I feel bad about that? Or do I good about that? Like, do I feel bad or good about my boss not wanting to, like assault me that? How do I feel about that? You know,

like, it’s and that’s definitely like, I think,

I think the complexity of a lot of these situations

are, like the strong spirit of this film, like the I think it’s, I think that’s, you know, that’s where this film really, really gets you is in those little tiny moments. Yes. And those small, the small looks or the small gestures, the small lines, that, that when you leave the film, you’re like, Okay, what did I just watch, you go back through cataloguing what you saw, in those tiny little moments stand out and start to add up to this like, stomach churning, horrifying, like experience, especially if you think about it a lot. I think this is a thinker, for sure. This film is a thinker, as opposed to a watcher and lever. I don’t know. Yeah. You mean Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. There’s those things that stick with you. Yeah. So there’s that moment. So yeah, also the implication that like the person who says that line about you’re not as tight, like, Becky thinks that’s the point, you know, like, like, that’s the most important thing right now is whether or not this person is going to be abused by the abuser, you’re helping keep in power. It’s, yeah, it’s such a mess. But then there’s also a line. So there’s like, there’s a few moments, which I think is really strong, where there’s kind of like an unspoken, like, they both know that the other knows, but they’re not going to say it. So that there’s like a feeling of that and the elevator towards the end and then

and then the line with someone says, Don’t worry, it’s going to be I can’t exactly what it is, but it’s going to be better for her than it is for him in the long run or something like that, like she’s going to get ahead in her career is the implication and like she’s getting more out of it. Yeah, right. That’s what it was. She’s gonna get more out of it than he will. Yeah. Wait, yeah. So, yeah, and also like, kind of going back to the HR thing and, and even your

experience that, that this film I think demonstrates the importance of like that whole idea of believe women like it because his whole argument is like, well, no one’s gonna believe you. So what’s the point? So I think it really, that that hit home as well as like, this is why it’s important that we have to take people at their word with stuff. But anyway, I think I think we’ve said a lot about this week, do you have anything else you want to add before we kind of wrap it up? Um, honestly, just that, like, you know, I like I love the framing of this film, like I love not like the physical framing of like, how it’s free, but like, how we started out with her alone, and we end with her alone, and it’s just kind of New York stuff, beginning and end, and the whole film is very deeply New York because people aren’t super nice in it. And it’s cold, and you know, all this stuff, which is not all what New York is. But it’s a lot about what we hear about New York. And it’s not an entirely untrue, like, portrait of what the city is like, and what it’s like to work there, which I don’t have the experience, but I do have the kind of like adjecent experience of having visited and been like, Okay, if I stepped into some a working woman shoes in the city, how would I feel and it’s not the best feeling, especially for someone who’s really grinding like Jane is in this film. So yeah, that’s, that’s kind of like I loved that it was like truthful about the harshness of not just the company and the experience it within this, like,

microcosm of the whole,

like this, the facility itself, and then the people she’s around, and the situation she’s experiencing, but also just like the city itself, the shots we get to the city are very, like,

high production, like, you know, bridges and like city lights and stuff like that. But I think it’s just trying to show how big how, how big and massive this places for just tiny little Jane to be trying to trying to do some good in this world, in this big, big, big apple. Yeah, that she can’t that she she can’t navigate by herself. And she’s really trying. And she’s doing a good job. She’s just like, she doesn’t have the support she needs and the support she needs is just on the phone. Yeah, twice in the movie, you know, and not even really a support system. So yeah, what I hope for Jane is that she and in new get new gal pal who have whatever name is they joined together and they just become like a support system for each other. Because they meet each other women need women. Yeah, I love that. And I had the same kind of feeling with the ending that just that ending shot of she like walks off into the city alone. And again, it’s just like, yeah, she’s one tiny speck in this. This big. I tried to fight against this big system, like this system of abuse in which every person that finds out and then does nothing is is not only complicit but then benefiting from this abuse. And it’s like, how do you fight this like this is decades in the making, that this is even possible for him to abuse his power in this way? Yeah, so I think it really, it does a good job in such an understated like subtle way of kind of really showing the context of like, how big of a problem This really is. So yes, it sounds like you recommend this movie. I do. I do recommend I also recommend this movie. That is the Assistant from kitty green, recommended by both of us. Thank you so much, Sophie for joining us today. Of course. Thank you for having me. Yes, it’s been a pleasure. And I would love to have you back again in the future.

Let me know. I will.

And that will do it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening to art house garage. We’ve got a few years worth now of episodes. You can hear all those in your podcast app of choice. If you want to support our house garage, you can leave a rating or review in your podcast app. Or you can buy an art house garage t shirt at our house garage comm slash shop. stay in the loop about art house garage and the Arkansas film community by subscribing to our email newsletter by going to art house garage comm slash subscribe or you can email me directly Andrew at art house garage COMM And of course follow on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and letterboxed just search at our house garage and all those places or find links in the show notes. Thank you again so much for listening and until next time, keep it’s not free.

Transcribed by

Picture of Andrew Sweatman

Andrew Sweatman

Andrew is a writer, podcaster, and film lover who wants to help people think critically about movies. He lives in central Arkansas with his wife Allison and two children, Rosie & Beau. Andrew is the Senior Editor at Arthouse Garage and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Find him at and on Twitter and Instagram: @ArthouseGarage.

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