Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★★½

Darkly funny but despairingly bleak, Promising Young Woman is unconcerned with anything but its own vision. For some viewers, that will certainly be an issue, and I admit that the film’s ending left me with mixed feelings, but I admire how much it affected me. To use a word too often thrown around, it’s visceral. Emerald Fennell’s screenplay is relentless, for better or worse. I was blown away by how deeply I felt Cassandra in my soul, bogged by all of her hurt and trauma but making it through every day, coping in whatever way she can until maybe one day things might start to get better. It’s almost difficult to get too deeply into it without spoiling so many parts of the plot, but it’s a film that will be as equally hated as it will be loved. Promising Young Woman is entrenched in extreme darkness, but one that is very real. What’s undeniable is that Carey Mulligan is extraordinary, I could feel every layer of her performance, every emotion Cassandra was experiencing. To say she chewed through the material like she chomped on Twizzlers, gum, and straws would be an understatement. Maybe the performance of 2020!

The kind of film that’s hard to shake after the lights come up. I wish I could’ve walked into cold, dark night from the warmth of a theater after seeing this. I need it. I’m not sure I’ve been so affected by a film and a performance since seeing mother!

edit: The more I think about it, the more I pick up. Cassandra’s trauma made her completely unpredictable, even to herself. She’s holding fast to her every move, rife with rage that might manifest itself differently in any given moment depending on the circumstances. I’d go as far to say that I’ve never seen trauma depicted quite in the way that Promising Young Woman does. It’s staggering and really demands a rewatch to even begin to ascertain all of my feelings. So much is said through framing, costuming, and set design that I probably didn’t even pick up right away.

Coleman Spilde liked these reviews