Subtle and slow
Even though I really enjoyed this film, it's one I don't think I can recommend to many people. The pacing is slow, even uncomfortably slow at times. Most "day in the life" stories are typically about more "interesting" characters. Something like a war officer, or a teenager wilding out on the last day of school. Instead of tackling a "cinematic" story like something I mentioned, this takes on a day in the life of a secretary. 'The Assistant' to a Harvey Weinstein type Hollywood producer. The entirety of the runtime takes place during one day in this assistants life. We see her make shakes, coordinate schedules, make phone calls, and even clean the producer's desk off. She does all the odd jobs and manual labor this producer doesn't have time to do himself. Which, sounds innocent enough. Most people that have both excess money and power, who are also short on time, generally have an assistant like this. However, the beauty and tragedy of this movie is in the subtle details. Since this seems to be a direct parallel to a Harvey Weinstein, there's subtle, but apparent hints at abuse. Girls come and go from his office, earrings are found on the floor, and he has personal meetings at hotels in town. Again, this isn't particularly cinematic, which is why I think it has received an overall mixed reception. People call it boring or a waste of time, which it isn't. There's plenty going on here and a lot to get out of this. It's just not what you'd expect to see from a movie, generally speaking. Even though I enjoyed this and think it has a lot of power behind it, there were stretches where it lost me. Scenes tend to spend a little to long on certain aspects or drag things out a bit much. Some scenes are literally the assistant standing in the break room washing dishes. Then there are scenes so masterfully executed, I can't imagine doing them any other way. The scene where she attempts to report what she's seen to HR stands out the most. It's disturbing, subtle, and most of all it reinforces the idea that, while most people are actively participating in abuse, they all know about it. Where the film really shines, apart from the horrifyingly honest portrayal of abuse, is with it's visuals. It's utterly gorgeous, every shot is perfectly composed and beautifully lit. Striking is a word that I would use to describe it but clinical, may be even more accurate. Harsh white lighting makes the bulk of the films light which helps capture how mundane this is to these people. It's appalling to see every single person our main character work with treating sexual misconduct as a punch line, but to them, it's daily life. Some day I may revisit this and like it more, but right now, I think it's pretty good.