‘Promising Young Woman’ is a film that sits with you long after you’ve finished watching it. Carey Mulligan plays Cassandra, a local barista that is in a revenge spiral from a tragedy that occurred during her time at medical school. The film opens on three men observing a clearly wasted and vulnerable woman across the bar. We overhear a gross conversation with the men about what they could gain from taking advantage of her, and one decides to take the initiative of taking her home, but making a stop at their house for a “night cap” with her.
Little does he know this woman is completely sober, and has been expecting him. This revenge thriller holds a mirror to society in such an unflinching and unforgiving manner that nobody watching can escape, and I was completely floored by it.
I don’t want to spoil much with ‘Promising Young Woman’. I made a point back during the 2020 film festival that I was going to see this. Little did I know EVERYONE was going to it, leaving me to wait over a year to hear how incredible this film was. I refused to watch trailers, or read a synopsis until I got to see it and I am so glad that I did. If you haven’t seen anything for this yourself, I will do my best to keep the mystery alive and still tell say how great the film is.
Carey Mulligan is absolutely incredible in this film. It is purely driven by her and relies on her to carry the emotional weight of the film, and she does so with a haunting, real and captivating performance. Her character is one that will be studied in film school and she deserves to be nominated and win all the awards for her work here.
The supporting cast consists of Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, and Alfred Molina are all important aspects of the systemic and public side of this tragedy that sets Cassandra on her journey. They all were great in their roles and each represent the painful truths that demand to be explained and explored.
If you don’t feel uncomfortable in this movie, you’re a sociopath. Roger Ebert always referred to films as ‘Empathy Generating Machines’ and ‘Promising Young Woman’ is a perfect reflection of his belief. The music and score in the film is fantastic, the cinematography and overall directing by Emerald Fennell is masterful. There will be a few new films coming out Christmas day, and of the three this is the strongest film for me and the one I would recommend over the others for your weekend viewing.