Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
Promising Young Women is a film that has had me really intrigued since I watched the trailer for the film early last year but of course due to the global pandemic I wasn't able to actually go see this film in the theater but thanks to digital releases I can now gladly say I've seen this film!
Promising Young Women captures your attention with a spastic and intriguing premise but at it's core is truly a character story that brings us through this incredibly intense mystery about Cassandras past and what about it has been kept with her lurking and haunting over every moment in this film and when you figure out what that thing is everything truly starts making sense and this film goes full on crazy. I truly love the premise of the first half of this film, I really liked the whole vengeful vigilante angel the film takes and the opening is intense and absolutely an incredible introduction into the main character and film. I also loved all of the mystery and thriller themes used in this film, my heart was constantly pounding watching this film, always wondering what will happen next and constantly worried about each situation. Despite the lack of personal connection to the main character in the first half of the film, Promising Young Women still manages to get you invested in the main character and the film using these themes of mystery and suspense to create tension and stakes that genuinely make you worried for the character. This is something that is done really well throughout the entirety of this film.
One of my favorite aspects of this film was the development and exploration of Cassandra as a character, especially in the second half when the film becomes a lot more emotionally engaging and you truly start relating to Cassandra on a human to human basis. I think Cassandra is one of the most rootable main characters in cinema and I loved watching her growth throughout the film. I really loved the witty subtlety of the dialogue in this film, I love the sarcastic comedy, it definitely kept me laughing in moments and it worked as a great relief from the insane rollercoaster of emotions this film puts you through.
I absolutely adored the cast in this movie! Carey Mulligan was outstanding and Bo Burnham also made a fantastic supporting role. I also adored everyone else that was on screen in this film, I think everyone was incredible and I think it was one of the best acted films of 2020. I also enjoyed the pacing of the film, it was definitely faster paced but it never felt like it was zooming over any important moments and I was able to be completely engaged with this film from the beginning.
At the end of the day, Promising Young Women was a fantastic, unique, refreshing, entertaining and heart shattering film that managed to keep me completely emotionally engaged with every moment that appeared on screen. My only big flaw with this film was how it ended, I won't delve to deep into what happened with the ending but I will say that it felt pretty lazy and incredibly corny, generic and just disappointing. The build up to the moment was fantastic but the actual ending was just pointless and felt like an unnecessary ha ha gotcha moment that was needed for such an intelligent and well written film. I loved the mystery themes of this film and I did love a lot of the crazy reveals such as the video and who was in it but the ending felt so generic and over the top it almost ruined what was such a great film. Anyways I loved a lot of the colors in this film, I thought it was produced pphenomenally well from the cinematography to the camera work this was a beautiful film to watch. Personally I really liked this film and even with the let down of an ending I still think this was a fantastic and engaging character story that was definitely a great watch and I'd recommend you to take a chance on this one to!
Rating - 9/10