There will be some who reject the new film Promising Young Woman on its concept alone without even watching the film. I can already here the calls of ‘woke’ and ‘feminist agenda’ film coming in the comments section. I’m not going to try and convince you to see the film but merely give my reasons of why it worked for me as a piece of revenge fiction.
Last year we had Black Christmas that tried to do many of the same things Promising Young Woman does but it did not work at all. It was one of my least favorite films of 2019. The problem with that film is it presents only one valid version of being a woman. If you aren’t a kickbutt man-hater you are shamed or killed.
In this film it tells the story of one woman Cassie (played brilliantly by Carrie Mulligan) that is bitter and angry and wants revenge. She is an anti-hero in a sense but she is in no way presented as a guide by which to live by or even a stable competent individual. In fact, quite the reverse. All the men in the film are garbage but the movie is told exclusively through her point of view and she’s a damaged bitter woman who hates everyone around her- male and female.
The reason Cassie is so bitter is because a tragedy happened to her best friend in college and it was ignored and brushed aside. ‘Boys will be boys’ mentality rears its ugly head again. This is something we all should be against and Cassie decides to confront it at any cost. The nice thing is the movie doesn’t forget to have a sense of humor. Yes Cassie has let her crusade become a mania but she’s still funny and sarcastic.
I’ve heard some don’t like the ending. I disagree. I enjoyed the ending. To me it fit with the tone of the film and allowed her to get her revenge in a satisfying way.
Promising Young Woman is not a movie saying all men are evil and women are angels. It’s saying excusing away bad behavior done on college campuses because ‘boys will be boys’ or whatever is and that’s what needs to stop. A simple message is fine in a film. Simple character motivations are also fine. All I need is a terrific performance, which we have here, and a cracking script that doesn’t forget to have a sense of humor every now and then.
It’s not very rewatchable is I guess the only downside and the best thrillers usually should be. Nevertheless I definitely recommend watching it if you get the chance.
8 out of 10