Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★½

There's a great film that could easily have been made with everything in Promising Young Woman being so perfectly laid out: a perfect set-up, and Carey Mulligan just being amazing as she always is - but when you're also putting that within the context of everything that this film sets itself out to be, it pulls under the rug and only ends up leaving a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.

I also have no doubt that Emerald Fennell is a talented filmmaker, and I do look forward to seeing more from her in the future, and there's still a whole lot worth commending here: it's a gorgeous work, and at its best moments it also feels very interrogative for male audience members regarding the impact of sexual assault (thankfully, which is never shown in the film).

But as I'm sitting here, I'm just very frustrated at the fact that this was all a perfect template for an empowering feminist narrative, only for a familiar route that we've seen numerous times coming by in the worst manner. It isn't subversive, it just reinforces the opposite effect. I don't know if I would be one to speak on that manner either, but that's also just how it comes across to me.

EDIT 12/29/2020: It's come to my understanding that Emerald Fennell has seen that ending moment as being a part of her point, which is fine enough to me. It's not my intention to speak above women who find that ending effective, but in due time I do want to speak to more women to get a sense of what they took away from what it implies. And no, I will not spoil the ending here.

52 Films by Women, 2020: #66

Expanded upon my complicated feelings about this film on my site, give it a read.

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