The Assistant to The Invisible Man: the seven best films to watch on TV this week

·4-min read

Pick of the week

The Assistant

A clever attempt to explore Harvey Weinstein’s crimes through fiction, Kitty Green’s insidious drama follows a day in the lives of a New York film producer’s staff. Julia Garner is our central concern as Jane, five months into her job as assistant to a domineering movie boss, known only as “He”, who is heard ranting on the phone but remains unseen. She gets intimations of his darker actions – unexplained invoices, after-hours meetings with young female actors, the appearance of a new “assistant” – but are Jane’s suspicions enough to risk her position by complaining? It’s the details of office culture that make the film so disturbing – how easily predatory behaviour can be excused or enabled.
Wednesday 17 August, 11pm, Film4

***

Who You Think I Am

The perils of social media are the theme of this French drama, but the subject is not your typical youth. Middle-aged professor and single mother Claire (Juliette Binoche) is dumped by her twentysomething lover. She takes revenge by creating a fake Facebook profile – 24-year-old Clara – and befriending his flatmate Alex. Through texts and phone chats, a relationship with Alex grows, one Claire deludes herself into thinking represents the real her. Safy Nebbou’s film sensitively unpicks Claire’s desires and insecurities, all expressed exquisitely by Binoche.
Saturday 13 August, 9pm, BBC Four

***

Sisters With Transistors

A roll call of largely unsung female electronic music pioneers are the focus of Lisa Rovner’s fascinating historical primer. From 1930s theremin soloist Clara Rockmore and BBC Radiophonic Workshop co-founder Daphne Oram to 60s soundscape artist Pauline Oliveros and the advert-soundtracking Suzanne Ciani, all found creative autonomy away from the establishment via tape loops, circuit boards and synthesisers. With a trove of performance footage, it’s a laudatory tale of enforced DIY careers and untameable imaginations.
Saturday 13 August, 10.30pm, Sky Arts

***

Go West

Buster Keaton takes his deadpan comedy to the wild west in this 1925 film, which culminates in one of his great set-pieces – a riotous cattle drive through the streets of LA. His impoverished nobody Friendless is knocked around by life but imperturbable, so when he finds himself at a ranch and poses as a cowboy, his inability to do the simplest tasks – he can’t put a saddle on, thinks cows milk themselves – doesn’t stop him for long. He even wins the heart of the owner’s daughter, though he’s more concerned about Brown Eyes, a very independent-minded steer.
Sunday 14 August, 1pm, Talking Pictures TV

***

120 BPM

The campaigns and characters of Aids activist group Act Up in Paris in the early 1990s make for compelling, emotional drama in Robin Campillo’s 2017 film. Amid the argumentative meetings about strategy and the disruptive public actions themselves (often involving fake blood), the heartbreaking stories of the mostly HIV-positive members slip through. It’s also a sweet love story – as new boy Nathan (Arnaud Valois) falls for the ailing but angry Sean (a terrifically bolshie Nahuel Pérez Biscayart).
Sunday 14 August, 1.10am, Film4

***

Saint Frances

Kelly O’Sullivan scripts and stars in a wonderfully frank look at women’s health issues. She plays Bridget, 34, a waitress with little in the way of maternal instinct, who gets a job nannying wilful but cute six-year-old Frances (Ramona Edith Williams) while one of the girl’s two mothers, Maya (Charin Alvarez), struggles with her new baby. There is plenty in the relationship between Bridget and Frances to captivate but the film is most interesting when it deals with the women and their problems – menstruation, abortion, postpartum depression; topics getting an all-too rare airing on screen.
Thursday 18 August, 11.15pm, Film4

***

The Invisible Man

This is the first adaptation of HG Wells’s sci-fi novel that privileges the point of view of the victim – and the result is the finest version of the story so far. In Leigh Whannell’s chiller, we follow Elisabeth Moss’s Cecilia as she flees an abusive, controlling relationship, only to suspect her ex, a wealthy optics engineer, is stalking her – even after he supposedly kills himself. Moss is exceptional, alternately fragile and forceful, while the film’s air of suspense is maintained through a camera that is either creeping along corridors or lurking, unnervingly static.
Friday 19 August, 10.45pm, ITV