Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★

Going to have to sleep on it, but first impression? Trickier than most “revenge”’ films, and the subversive touches are refreshing, but not entirely sure it coheres.

Addendum: I misspoke on coherence. It’s certainly coherent narratively, but the tone, it’s hard to pinpoint. I think if this was coming out in normal circumstances, this *might* be a “F” CinemaScore film. The marketing as well as the opening credits tout this as being a kind of giddy, fist-pumping feminist revenge thriller, and it’s so much more complicated than that. That’s also what makes the movie idiosyncratic and fascinating, but I could see people feeling duped. But that’s also sort-of the point. Actually, maybe more like a “C-“ CinemaScore, given the satisfying final moments. 

Sorry for the ramble, but it all comes back to that tone. The subversion of revenge movie cliches and denying the release that most of these movies would have fits harmoniously with the hot-button issues that it wants to talk about and the targets that it aims to hit. I just felt like I was engaging and admiring at a distance, which again, maybe that’s the point. Mulligan, though, is on such another level here that I think she rides the tone better than the movie itself does. That’s hardly up for debate.

Two last thoughts. One, not to sound like a broken record, but really wish I could have seen this theatrically (though fully aware of and not knocking the privilege of watching at home). It’s that kind of film that would have crushed with an audience at the SIFF Uptown in Seattle or Fox Tower, Hollywood Theatre, or Cinema 21 in Portland. Lastly, moratorium on “Angel of the Morning” needle drops, please and thank you.

Ryan Oliver liked this review