A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.
The first couple of months of the year are usually a terrific time for new movies in the UK, with all the awards contenders getting their releases ahead of the variety of awards ceremonies that lead up to the Oscars. For obvious reasons, this year is a bit different, but some of the hotly tipped films are starting to become available, including ‘Promising Young Woman’, Emerald Fennell’s blisteringly dark comedy. ‘Promising Young Woman’ is a sharp, acerbic thriller about Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a woman who acts drunk in order to turn the tables on predatory men, driven by a desire to avenge her best friend who was a victim of rape when they were students. I thought it was a terrific film, achieving the great balancing act of being deeply disturbing and terrifying, yet incredibly funny (in a dark way of course), and having just rewatched ‘An Education’, it’s great to see Carey Mulligan in a wholly different role!
This film is a blast from start to finish and I liked how it subverted my expectations, not necessarily unfolding as one might have expected. Mulligan is brilliant and as good as she’s been in ages, and in general, the casting is superb across the board. I liked how the male characters were cast, in many cases against type with actors more known for playing ‘nice guys’ playing the creeps and villains of the piece – I suspect there’s a point being made here given how the movie dissects this ‘type’ of man. It doesn’t just aim at men though, with scorn also reserved towards woman who enable men to behave in certain ways, and I liked that ‘Promising Young Woman’ never shies away from going to some really dark places to make its points. Despite the dark material, it is very funny as mentioned, and in some respects it reminded me of last years Best Picture Oscar winner ‘Parasite’, in how it constantly surprised and held me in the palm of its hand throughout.
‘Promising Young Woman’ is a supremely entertaining thriller that balances potent and provocative points with great storytelling, and as far as debuts go, this is a pretty damn confident one from writer-director Emerald Fennell.
Directed By: Emerald Fennell
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Chris Lowell, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Sam Richardson, Alfred Molina, Molly Shannon and Steve Monroe