I feel like I have been waiting a really long time to write this review. But nowhere near as long as us poor Brits have been waiting for the release of this film. Promising Young Woman finally arrives in the UK today via Sky. If you managed to avoid any and all spoilers over this last year, well done you, and don’t fear, no major plot points here, though it is a film best seen cold.
Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, it follows Cassie, a promising young woman with a mission – to find and punish bad men. She goes out every night, lures a man to take her home, and teaches him a lesson.
To say I loved Promising Young Woman is an understatement. I adored this film. From the opening scene with The O.C’s Adam Brody, the almost video game-like opening credits set to It’s Raining Men, the candy-coloured colour scheme throughout the film, the soundtrack I’ve had on repeat for 3 months. It’s as close to perfect as it comes for me.
Carey Mulligan gives a career-best performance as Cassie, cold but secretly fragile? We get to learn little about her, but the film presents us with everything we need to know. It’s so wonderful to see her do a modern role and a lead performance in one at that. She owns the film, controlling every scene and bringing a much needed human element to a larger than life tale. Charming and endearing, it’s hard not to root for her despite the questionable choices she makes.
Lindsay Graham Ahanonu and Mary Vernieu knocked it out of the park with the casting, matching to Mulligan’s outstanding performance we have Bon Burnham who manages to charm and infuriate, alongside many familiar male faces like Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Max Greenfield, the always excellent Alfred Molina and female stars Alison Brie, Connie Britton and Laverne Cox. Using such well known and loved stars adds to the films clever dynamic – whilst some of Cassie’s actions may not be commonplace in our everyday world, a lot of the content in the film is. These people could be anyone you know. Just because we love someone doesn’t mean they make good choices.
Fennell is a master of the screen, switching between tones easily, framing the film with various chapters, as Cassie formulates a plan. As a 30-year-old woman, this film was clearly made for me, from the casting to the song choices, to the visual cues. It’s been billed as a female revenge fantasy. Others say it’s a mediation on grief. A different perspective on survivors’ guilt? It’s one and all, wrapped up with a cherry on top.
There has been valid criticism of the film, particularly the choices made in the third act. They worked for me and those I watched with and whilst I can understand why others had issues, I can’t think of a better way to have closed the film, and I found myself cheering with every text message.
It’s clever, it’s ludicrous, it made me laugh, it almost made me cry, it shocked me. I ran the gamut with this film and went straight back in for more.
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