Promising Young Woman is a brilliant new treatment of the revenge movie. It’s fresh and funny and barbed and full of heart. A masterwork. Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, the film is available to rent on Prime Video.
Promising Young Woman surprises at every turn. It’s hard to describe the plot without giving it all away. I don’t want to rob you of the amazement of experiencing those surprises yourself. I’m going to be vague.
Cassie (Carey Mulligan) works in a coffee shop. Her boss, Gail (Laverne Cox), puts her up for promotions. Cassie isn’t interested in work, a career, or dating. She’s 30 years old and lives at home with her parents (Clancy Brown and Jennifer Coolidge).
She goes out to clubs, pretends to be drunk, and when some helpful guy offers to take her home and proceeds to sexually assault her, she confronts him about his assholery.
A guy from her past, Ryan (Bo Burnham), comes into the coffee shop. He might not be an asshole. Running into him changes Cassie’s approach to getting even.
The story digs into Cassie’s past, her motivations, and her clever ideas for making her point. A terrific cast in supporting roles come and go as this unfolds. Some of these actors include Molly Shannon, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Max Greenfield, and Christopher Lowell.
Most revenge movies are violent and senseless. It’s never been my favorite genre. But this film has a point and a message. It takes an all-encompassing look at sexual violence and lays it bare.
The film has been nominated for close to 200 awards including best film, best director and best actress. All those nominations are deserved. It added to historical milestones by putting two women directors in the running for best director at the Oscars – Emerald Fennell and Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao. This is a must see film and one you’ll remember for a very long time. I hope you’ll watch it.
There are a lot of spoilers in this trailer, so proceed at your own risk. One point the trailer makes that isn’t a spoiler is how fantastic the music is in this film. Powerful.
Do you plan to watch this film? I’d love to know what you think about it.