Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★½

the film offers up a tantalising genre experiment - a rape revenge/rom com riff draped in a punchy pop aesthetic - but it defs struggles to manage its blend of disparate tones.

there's an all-timer meet-cute and some v charming moments within the rom com stuff, but i was never sure how many layers of irony it was buried under. a lot of that ambiguity can be tied to the inconsistent characterisation of mulligan's lead; she's immensely watchable, but not always believable.

the film also borrows from the knives out/black christmas (2019) brand of screenwriting where dialogue is often structured like tweets, particularly in the way it frames rape culture discourse. to be clear: i don't need genre movies to be subtle! but i already spend enough time on the stupid bird app.

i admired the attempts to complicate the straightforward catharsis that other films like revenge offer, and it feels like the film is, in part, critical of the abuse mulligan's character inflicts on some of her victims. but fennell insists on dulling her edges so that she's never too objectionable, and the stuff about being compromised by revenge kinda flops as a result.

should be stressed that this is frequently quite funny and a lot of fun with a crowd - and the fact that i'm still thinking about it several weeks on means it's doing something right. bonus points for the loaded casting of stifler's mum.

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