Adam Hursey’s review published on Letterboxd:
A few years ago, I was watching TD Jakes preach. He was talking about his daughter telling him about all of these people and their problems. She was actually telling him about characters on True Blood (of all things), but he didn’t realize these were not real people. He told her to tell him their names because he wanted to pray for them. Her response: “Daddy, these people on TV”.
My wife did not watch Promising Young Woman with me. She really only likes to watch films based on true stories (bonus points if they show photos or footage of the real people at the end) or anything British (to be fair, her father’s side is from England and can relate to the British sensibilities). Sometimes she will watch other films with me (Nomadland comes to mind), but I have to be selective on what I ask her to watch with me. I felt like this one would not be for her. Once I related the entire plot of the film to her, her response: “These people need therapy. Actually, these people need Jesus.” I mean, she’s not wrong. But these are just characters in a movie after all. I reminded her that she felt that the girl in Gone Girl had the right idea. For her, Cassie’s actions at the end of this film goes too far. I was for it. Sure it’s extreme, but, it’s just a movie, right?
A couple of days ago, I said that Vanessa Kirby would win my Best Actress award for Pieces of a Woman and I could not imagine anyone overtaking her. Maybe Carey Mulligan gets the last laugh here too. These are two films that make an interesting pairing. Both deal with how women deal with grief differently. Different circumstances for sure. But also different results.
I really loved this film. I can see it sticking with me for quite a while. I’m ready to watch again (although I don’t think I will for a while—I keep threatening to watch Gone Girl again but haven’t). The film has a perfect tone of me—it keeps a mystery about itself while never feeling confusing or frustrating. Mulligan really holds it all together, but what a fantastic debut feature. This year has had plenty of those. It makes me optimistic about the future of cinema while everything else around movies seem to be falling apart.