Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★★

"I'm a nice guy!"
"Are you?"

I must admit that I went into this movie with some bit of skepticism. I remember seeing a trailer for this back in January that I think played before Bad Boys For Life. (Ah, man, theaters, those things.) It looked kind of bad to me, like some kind of #girlboss weird revenge thriller that would be really cringey instead of "profound." Either the trailer for this was just bad, or I had my head up my ass. Regardless, I only gave this a chance because of the stellar reviews it's been getting, and I am glad I did. Promising Young Woman was a film that I liked almost as soon as it started, with its strong usage of music, quality editing, and a nuanced performance from Carey Mulligan, but as it kept going, it internalized how much I was really liking it. If you're making a revenge thriller, you either want to make it quick and easy or be willing to take the initiative to make it as murky as possible. This does the latter to often stunning effect. To state again, Mulligan is great here. Cassandra makes for one of the most compelling characters in film from the year. She's not just someone who's a victim seeking vengeance, there are incidents she instigates that are more than likely to rub you the wrong way, but it's done in a way to really get you thinking about the social workings of gender dynamics and victim-blaming. Almost everything said in here by or about male characters I have heard someone say or seen typed out online, and unfortunately, it made me flash back to some of the kind of sexist shit I used to buy into. I like to believe I'm a nice guy, not the "nice guys" we see here, but, you know, the real deal. I have things I can improve on with myself though, that's for sure. (Good place to mention that it's really weird seeing Bo Burnham actually acting in something, giving a legitimately good performance no less. His voice is kind of deep now too. What the hell?) The scene with the dean is a top one for the year, and the ending is absolutely guaranteed to take you off-guard. It's up to you about whether or not that's a good thing or something that detracts from the collective feature. However it turns out for you, for me, this was a great surprise. Boys being boys.


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