Sam Meltzer’s review published on Letterboxd:
I could watch Carey kick a garbage can down all day.
I’ve been waiting since March to see a movie again in theaters. Every since I heard about this movie, it’s been my most anticipated of the year. I went in with high expectations and this met all of them. Promising Young Woman is undeniably my favorite movie of 2020, as it perfectly exemplifies everything I want in a movie. It has incredible originality, a superb lead (actress) performance, amazing memorability, unpredictability and a stunning visual appeal.
Carey Mulligan... this woman is everything. I hope Hollywood gives her more roles as good as this cause she deserves them. Her performance here is perfect. She understands how to utilize little subtle details within her line deliver to make her performance top-notch. I was constantly laughing and gasping and what she could pull off. The way she can make her character both devastatingly evil and perfectly relatable impressed the hell outta me. She added so much to a character that no else really could’ve played. Speaking of which, I feel as thought THIS is why I love good characters in film, specifically female ones. Something about Cassie’s appearance feels simultaneously ugly and beautiful. The way she walks, her hair and her outfits are really, really pretty. She’s always eating something sweet and candy-like, which resembles the sugary part of her personality. Her sweaters are sooooo visually attractive because of the colors and designs lying on them. But something about the makeup on her face makes her look a little messed up underneath that beauty. Despite looking as nice as she does, she also looks kinda fucked up. This may have to do with what we know about the character but something about her appearance feels a bit off. That’s the brilliance of Promising Young Woman, how, just like the central character, the movie can look as good as it does yet have very dark themes.
I’m gonna describe the visual aesthetic of it as a pastel carnival. The colors are so light, fun, appealing and just really creative. It’s a really glossified, yes I made that word up, movie in that sense. And there’s a lot of smart humor. One joke involving her spiting in a coffee that made my mom and I laugh for a good minute. If you can make a movie with themes of abuse happening to a character also have me laughing my ass off, you! are! smart! I’m not gonna get into major spoilers at all but there’s an interesting subplot involving rape and how it affected Cassie that merges its way into the story so well. The script here is so good for that, it’s message. Cassie was friends with Nina. A woman, who was, quite literally, under the influence. She feels as if she has to find her revenge to those who abused her dear friend, but, because this is a smart movie, she does it in a crazily imaginative way instead of a traditional, boring way. The way this plays out finds to be some of the most entertaining sequences I’ve seen in a film.
Now, the ending of the movie is getting a lot of mixed reactions. Obviously, I was really into it. Again, no spoilers, but let’s just say the ending tricks you and feels very rewarding at the same time. You should’ve seen how quickly my hand covered my mouth from the shock I felt from the ending moment. Hint: I’m gonna do a spoiler review for this movie and get into the nitty gritty of it but yeah I thought it was amazing.
Sorry if what I’m writing sounds really dumb or messy but it’s just an immediate reaction as I’m genuinely shocked. Maybe the fact that I experienced this in the amazing setting of a theater made me like it more, but I really do think this movie is something else. Check it out if you can in theaters but if that’s not an option for you I’m sure it’ll be almost as incredible at home.