Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★½

"Who needs brains? That never did a girl any good."

Carey Mulligan delivers an as expected awards-worthy performance, but I was a little underwhelmed by the tameness and unconventional end result. To the film's advantage and narrative, my disappointment arises from a very specific, unfortunate, yet deliberately all-too-real possibility choice. I can see the rationale, but it just didn't sit well with me as laid out. After seeing the thrilling "Toxic" backed trailer last year, I was giddy at the hope of seeing Mulligan go American Mary (and I assume Nurse 3D) on a bunch of guilty frat bros; I'll just say it was exactly that, but not in the way I was expecting...for the worse and questionable at times. As the title states, this is a promising candy aesthetic feature directorial debut—albeit a bit uneven in its episodic pacing—led by the stellar central role and great symmetrical cinematography from Benjamin Kracun (Beast, Hyena, Monsoon). Regardless, I still enjoyed the film and its solid first half of real intensity before a divisive lacklustre ending. While it doesn't offer any answers, it showcases the lingering trauma of survivor's guilt, the overt hypocrisy and toxicity of rape culture from different perspectives, and what some women have to unfortunately deal with in everyday life (especially in a college town).

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