An ex-med student plans an elaborate revenge on the
people responsible for ruining her best friend's life.
Promising Young Woman (2020)
Written and Directed by Emerald Fennell
Starring Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox,
Jennifer Coolidge, Clancy Brown, Alison Brie, Alfred Molina,
Connie Britton, Chris Lowell, Molly Shannon
Promising Young Woman is a film that transcends genres. It's a drama, it's a comedy, it's a thriller, and it even has elements of horror at times. Above all, it's a timely, much-needed social commentary about how our society views rape, particularly in college. There have been cases, some famous ones in fact, where the perpetrator was given leniency because a rape charge would "hurt their pre-law or pre-med career," and the victim was cast aside and shamed as a "slut" or "was asking for it." At a time where sexual assault accusations are being taken much more seriously, this film emerged as the ultimate revenge fantasy for anyone who was ever taken advantage of sexually or knows someone that was.
Cassandra (Mulligan) lost her best friend Nina to a college party gang rape, and she's spent the past few years putting would-be predators in their place. She goes to bars, pretends to be drunk and alone, and waits for "nice guys" to rescue her and take her back to their apartment. Then, she instantly sobers up and calls them on their behavior. When she starts seeing pediatric surgeon Ryan (Burnham, who was fantastic), it looks like Cassandra might have a chance at moving on. But of course, nothing goes the way you think in this movie, and the ending is out of fucking nowhere, but oh so satisfying.
Carey Mulligan is phenomenal as Cassandra, the ultimate scorned woman from whom hell hath no fury. Cases like Nina's happen all the time, and a lot of colleges favor the perp simply because it might damage their reputation, regardless of how shattered the victim's life is. Promising Young Woman destroys expectations and delivers one of the most poignant and memorable films of the year.