ches’s review published on Letterboxd:
i don’t know how to feel about this film. it's not bad. it's entertaining. but there's a sense of... disappointment?
promising young woman is a film that offers the audience hope and satisfactory vengeance. throughout the first act of the film, you feel a sense of justice. the protagonist is a woman teaching men a lesson for something they should be held accountable for, but never are. what more could you want? you cheer for her and see her as an empowering figure. the film also takes the "nice guy" discussion outside of reddit. outside of twitter. outside of the internet. if you spend everyday of your life online, the concept probably isn't new to you. it's nothing special. but upon watching this film- people who are unaware might have an idea of what to watch out for now that the nice guy type has officially been presented in a neat little box.
but is that enough justification for all the praise this film is getting?
no, it's not. i expected so much more. forgive me for not accepting the bare minimum but- everything felt surface level. the filmmaking just... didn't meet my expectations. the team marketed promising young woman as a colourful world set in night time bars and clubs, with the stereotypical "female colours" pink and red at the forefront to heighten the female power they were so desperate to sell. they marketed it as a violent rape-revenge film where the villainous men are killed and everyone gets their just desserts. but when it came to the actual film, there was nothing. no real violence. the art direction was weak. jesus... it all felt so millennial and... girl-boss. and they could have done so much with the cinematography. you have this film that deals with such an intense topic... you could have added so much to the storytelling with the shots yet the most interesting thing i've noticed about the cinematography were the usage of anamorphic lenses.
now the issue with the ending... i'm conflicted. at first i thought i could forgive it and chalk it up to the fact that maybe, just maybe- it's a commentary about how rape victims (and everyone affected) never actually get the justice they deserve. but no. the more i think about the ending, it really does make it seem like justice has been served. you're telling me the resolution was brought upon us by the authorities? the authorities who never believed nina in the first place? it felt so self-righteous, so downright smug- with that little visual of cassie's text message as the ending. what was achieved? now 2 women are dead. it's not clever. it's not groundbreaking.
overall it's an entertaining film. you'll still feel some sort of satisfaction with what little it gives. it just isn't as innovative as people make it out to be.
in all honesty- nice guys will probably enjoy this film.