Not Very Promising Young Women
There are two movies out there you are actually not allowed to criticize. One is about a young woman seeking for revenge after a rape made her life unbearable, "A Prmisng Young Woman" played by Carry Mulligan. The other one is abut one of those mysterious assistants (here played by Julia Garner) in charge of cleaning up after their movie mogul bosses, always in clonflict about what they are seeing their bosses doing to women - and their own perspectives on keeping their jobs.
Both movies are so-so, mainly because you are not able to identify with their leading characters. Mulligan compared to Diane Keaton way back in "Looking For Mr Goodbar" (or any other actress in Netflix´s third season of "Broadchruch") never makes you get interested in her story, actually I stopped watching the movie after thirty minutes.
A movie critic felt similar and wrote about it in "Variety", then Mulligan went to talk shows accusing the writer for being "sexist", obviously misinterpreting his negative words about a questionable casting decision; the "Telegraph" came to his rescue today, but it looks like he has lost his job after thirty years.
Reminding me of the way "The Assistant" has been treated. The movie following the lead character through her obivously frustratingly boring job of coffee cooking, flight booking and cleaning up after meetings that seems to really kill her - because she is a well educated college girl and deserves better; bad for her, her boss is not Amanda Priestly´s "The Devil Wears Prada" but an invisible, bad mannered guy, who loves to yell at her on the phone and then apologizes via mail by celebrating her professional skills.
Ok, ok, we got it: there is more. This boss, clearly modeled after women molester and rapist (now sentenced) movie producer Harvey Weinstein, obviously has a sick sex life (drugs to help him perform are sent to the office), to clean up after his intercourses and placing new victims into fancy hotel rooms as well as schedule and then re-schedule "after hour" dates with actresses obviously adds another minus to her job conditions.
The thing is: Instead of telling the head of her HR that she wants to quit a job where she works parttime as a "Madam", parttime as that "Madam"´s cleaning lady she seems to complain about a job that really stays behind her brilliant college degree. Easy for the HR boss to talk her out of that, warn the boss and guide him to a behavior that will obviously calm her down again - at least for a while.
I do not want to argue about situations that transform assistants into victims of certain circumstances, let alone let a raped woman search for revenge, but I would really help a lot to watch women on screen react differently to male sexual assault: through mature and brave behavior. Why do those women seem to have no other chance but act as helpless and as crazy self destroying as Mulligan or Garner?
Still: Movie media and Golden Globes/Oscar nomination polls go for praising both movies and their cast without the slightest doubt.
Those shit storms following more controversial pieces obviously lead to losing your job as a critic these days. A situation not far away from that of those secretaries not managing to tell the truth back in the old days, before the #metoo movement changed the world, hopefully for good.
Do we really want to act as hypocritical as the system we used to fight against?
Shouldn´t it be fine for any critic to question casting or acting or story telling and NOT risking their job?
Please feel free to disagree with me. After all: I have no job to lose. Get back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org