George Clark’s review published on Letterboxd:
Promising Young Woman will undoubtedly go down as one of the year's most polarising films. Director Emerald Fennell tells the story of a young woman named Cassie (Carey Mulligan), who's traumatised by a tragic event from her past and begins to seek vengeance against those who were involved. It's a polarising film that you'll ever love or hate. But there's one thing that stands out above the rest, everything Emerald Fennell touches, whether it be the story or direction, turns to gold.
Promising Young Woman is, without question, the year's most explosively shocking and forcefully controversial film, but it's also, undoubtedly, one of the year's best. The artistry within is something truly special as it transforms the iconography of exploitation movies into a more contemplative and jolting experience. The main story is one that will undeniably impact a lot of audiences. It's dark, sombre and realistically horrific throughout but has a darker comedic side that makes you question why you're enjoying it as much as you are. There’s no denying that Fennell is playing with serious dynamite here, it's a story that could have easily blown up in her face, been misinterpreted or just slated for its controversial scenes, but her direction, style, cinematography and ultimately the story, is what you get behind as you somewhat root for the "hero", as her revenge motive is fascinating and, sadly, something that seems all to true for many people.
Regardless of how you interpreted it, Promising Young Woman will undeniably make an unforgettable impact on whoever watches it as it builds to a truly shocking climax that delivers Fennell’s themes with a dark and twisted sense of humour and justice whilst also allowing for a clever and unexpected turn of events in a film filled to the brim with surprises. It doesn't just hold some of the best acting this year from Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham, but also a vibrant colour scheme, some beautiful cinematography and direction, that for a debut feature film, is incredible throughout. Promising Young Woman will go down as one of 2020's best and for me, and I'm sure many others, will linger with me for a long time.
2020 Releases Ranked