Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman

it’s funny how i thought i was gonna rate this 5 stars. worst ending to a movie that i’ve seen in a long, long, time. 

spoiler warning and discussions of sexual assault below: 

ok, i’ve digested it and now i want to make some comments.

i came into this movie somewhat blindly. i had watched a snippet of the trailer a few months ago and assumed it was going to be some kind of thriller comedy where the lead kills predators, and it turns out i was way off. first of all, it did not make any sense for her to go through the trouble of getting “fake plastered” every single night and get taken to a man’s home just to give him a “stern talking to” about how they messed up and how “they better be careful, a drunk woman might actually be a sober woman pretending to be drunk so you shouldn’t assault them!” which was just ridiculous in itself. 

i didn’t horribly mind during my watch however, it was nice for those few seconds when the creeps realized they were totally screwed. but now i clearly think differently. now let’s talk about madison. cassie, a woman, who knows how horrific rape is, let another woman think she got raped for days which is traumatic. yes, it is completely wrong what madison did and how she thought but there were plenty of other ways she could have gone about getting “revenge.” it was honestly disgusting. 

and the end. oh god the ending. excusing my negative opinions about some parts of the movie, i was enjoying it extremely. i thought it was an interesting exploration of a woman’s growth from trauma (even though it wasn’t her own) and her path to recovery which involved confronting the demons of her past. which again seems strange to me that they chose to not make her the victim and made an offscreen dead best friend the victim. 

i liked the romance, i thought it took a very interesting turn when she visited nina’s mother as well so she could finally forgive herself for not being there for nina when she was assaulted. i appreciated the reveal that ryan was actually present at the assault as well. it wasn’t completely unexpected but the more the film went on the more i almost forgot about the idea of him being a bad person.

but what happened next took a turn for the worst. not once did we see violence against a man. instead, cassie is put into a predatory position and before she gets a chance to even put a scalpel to anyone’s skin, we watch her get suffocated for minutes as we see her struggle and hear her faint cries underneath a pillow. a final punch to the gut to let the rapists win. again. 

i think it was even worse that the tone shifted to that of a comedy. it took what it previously had presented as a life-altering serious topic into a cruel joke. the men themselves never once got punished for the rape. cassie neglected to even send the videos to ryan’s contacts. the only thing cassie’s rapist got in trouble for was her death, but he never really learned his lesson. and the end of a woman’s story of recovering from trauma was death. 

you can say that it was realistic, sure, but this entire movie was extremely harmful and disgusting. i can not even begin to describe how much it mishandled the message of assault, and i would say this was a revenge movie made for people who have never been assaulted before because i truly believe another victim could not look past the deep flaws of this film. 

what exactly was the message here? no one gets in trouble, you will never recover because everyone is actually bad even those you love, and eventually it will become too much and you will let it kill you. even worse, the cops “save the day!” i spent the majority of this movie feeling triggered and sick to my stomach as my experiences were mirrored in some of the scenes only to come out of it feeling angry and hopeless. this movie is an injustice to girls everywhere and i am appalled that a woman wrote and directed this and did not see any issues with it. the rape revenge trope is for women who seek empowerment after being assaulted and to make them feel stronger, framing this movie as exactly that and then stripping away the empowerment from the viewer is what i find the most hurtful. if you want to make a “realistic” movie about the failure of the justice system, make a court drama. assault victims don’t need the reminder that men will always win against women shoved in their face when this movie was literally marketed to do the exact opposite. it’s so disappointing.

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