Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows what happens when those in power, specifically men, go unchecked in their harassment and sexual assault/coercion of women. Exposes how women are exploited and silenced, how coming forward with evidence against someone more powerful comes at a cost, why people need to be held accountable for their behavior.
Positive Role Models
Few positive role models, except for Jane, who tries to do what's right but is completely dismissed. Only the men in the movie have much agency. Most of the women are actors hoping to get a job with the studio or a few female employees at higher levels who sort of stare at Jane but don't treat her much better than the men do.
Violence & Scariness
Jane's boss yells at her on the phone, berates her colleague behind closed doors, yells at a third person on the phone, and sends angry emails. Several men leave an office angry. The boss's wife yells at Jane. An HR representative is cruel and dismissive.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A male HR director tells a young woman employee that she "has nothing to worry about" because she isn't her (predatory) boss's "type." Jane cleans up what is suggested to be stains related to sexual activity from her boss's couch (later, employees in the office joke/laugh about never sitting on the boss's couch). A beautiful young woman arrives in New York believing that she was promised a job by the boss.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
A few uses of "f--k," a couple of "s--t." Insults like "jealous," plus exclamations of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," and more.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Jane puts several unmarked prescription drugs in a desk drawer and more liquid drugs in a storage cabinet. She later puts unsafely discarded used syringes in a biohazard bin. She's invited to drinks but declines. One scene of an adult smoking a cigarette.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Assistant is a searingly honest indie workplace drama inspired by #MeToo-movement stories of men in power who use and abuse (both verbally and sexually) younger women. The movie takes place over one long work day for the titular character, Jane (Julia Garner), who's a junior assistant to the unseen head of a New York City production studio. Her boss is the kind of man who berates his employees, yells at colleagues, and ignores his wife's calls, all while finding time to sexually coerce young women into trading sexual favors for the possibility of career advancement. Expect occasional swearing (both written in emails and spoken, including "f--k," "s--t," "Jesus!," etc.), and frequent strong innuendo and sexually suggestive content (references to the casting couch, which bears mysterious stains, as well as suggestions of infidelity and various attractive young women waiting to see or stay with the boss). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Kitty Green's film, with an award-worthy performance by Garner, is a piercing look at how women in the entertainment industry witness and experience sexual coercion and harassment. Green and Garner are a powerful team. The camera's close-ups of Garner's expressive, evocative movements and gestures show exactly how conflicted and concerned Jane is about her job. She endures tiny indignities all day long because she believes the unwritten promise that, with the big boss's recommendation and favor, she'll eventually move forward from her entry-level job and launch into a behind-the-scenes film career. But the cost, as everyone at the production studio tacitly understands, is complicity in the boss's sexually predatory activities.
Green never shows viewers the boss, although he's heard ranting, and his presence is felt, quite ominously, in every scene. Your imagination fills in the blanks (if it's not exactly Harvey Weinstein, it's surely someone Weinstein-esque). Despite never being seen, the boss looms large in the way every character refers to him (from his wife's acid-tongued "where is he?" and "who is he with?" to an enabling veteran employee's "you're not his type" and another's resigned "is he in?"). The tense conversation between Jane and the HR rep, so perfectly played by Macfadyen, is brilliantly directed. At first it seems like there may be a miniscule chance he understands, but eventually the truth is revealed, and he turns on her, too -- dismissing and humiliating Jane with back-handed compliments about the future she'll give up if she speaks out against the proverbial "him." The Assistant is ultimately an intelligent, insightful look at the far-reaching way in which influential men subjugate and disempower women.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.