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THE ASSISTANT

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THE ASSISTANT

* * ½

(Harassment in the workplace)

Rotten Tomatoes critics gave this strange movie about harassment in the workplace an 89%, while audiences gave it 21%. Who is right?

We would put it somewhere in between, but would not recommend it for those looking for more than subtle inferences to prove a point.

Julia Garner is excellent as Jane, the recent young hire at a Manhattan office assigned to all of the low level jobs and totally ignored by those above her...which is everyone else. She answers the phone, makes coffee, makes copies, distributes the mail, orders lunch, baby-sits the higher-ups kids and cleans up after everybody. Men in suits get on and off the elevator before her. She's the first in and last to leave, with no time for herself.

This all plays out in the first half of this tedious movie as writer/director Kitty Green makes her point.

One day a new "girl" arrives, brought on by her boss from the Midwest and put up at a nearby hotel. She has no skills and is quite naive, and Jane has serious doubts as to why she was hired, based on actions she observes about her boss's behavior. Her boss, by the way, is never seen. He is either out of the office or behind closed doors.

The one great scene in the movie has Jane going to the human resources director to report her concerns. The dominant male cleverly turns around her accusations, making her the culprit.

This unnerving, understated movie hints at bosses like the current film producer under indictment and leaves the situation up in the air with no resolution. You'll either love it or hate it.

Rated PG-13. Of no interest to young people except to warn them of the pitfalls of entry level jobs in the corporate world.

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