Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★★½

Cassie (Carey Mulligan) and Nina were friends since their earliest years. The former's mom (Jennifer Coolidge) looked forward to seeing her visits while her dad (Clancy Brown), rarely one to get emotional, considered her to be another daughter. They grew up together. They went to medical school together. Then something happened to Nina, and when two tried to report it to the Dean (Connie Britton), she pulled the "he said, she said" card. Now Nina isn't around anymore.

It's been seven or eight years since then and Cassie, having dropped out of med school after the fallout, still lives with her parents, working as a barista. The assailant, Alexander (Chris Lowell), has just moved back and is about to get married. Cassie, meanwhile, has found something of a catharsis, though: Whether out of grief, anger, or both, she goes cruising nightclubs every weekend. She pretends to be blackout drunk. A self-professed "nice guy" tries to take her home. Before anything can happen, she flips the switch and scares them sober.

This kind of fury has yet to be portrayed enough in movies—that is, assuming there is such thing as enough. Movies like Jennifer's Body and Revenge have gained their much-deserved followings over the last few years, but they were untethered from reality and/or firmly genre fare. In comes Promising Young Woman, and while it might be a bit too clever by the end for some, it has that sort of catharsis. It knows the feeling of wanting others to be afraid, of welcoming scorched earth. It's not a perfect movie, but it's definitely one to hold on to.

Full review on The Spool.

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