PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

NON-SPOILER REVIEW

The film is now available on Sky Cinema.

Emerald Fennell, actress most recently recognisable as “Camilla Parker Bowles” in Netflix’s The Crown, and a producer on Killing Eve, makes her feature film debut with this absorbing and slyly funny revenge thriller.

The film is a superbly structured story about Cassie, the troubled woman in the title, who embarks upon a revenge campaign related to some dark incident in her past.

While the whole cast are excellent, but is the award-winning Carey Mulligan who dominates the screen time with a fabulous multi-layered performance.

To say that the film is a slow burn would be an injustice as there’s barely a moment where you are not served with great dialogue, witty performances, beautiful photography, or gripping tension.


Cassie’s demons drive her through the opening sections of the film where in the day time she is a quiet unassuming coffee shop server but by night dons a range of gaudy outfits to entrap men. Yet it is more than that, for Cassie is coping with the horrors of sexual assault.

Her early experiences with these men leave us wondering just what she does to them, whether humiliation or worse, and her campaign is against the kind of man who’d cite locker room humour to justify behaviour which clearly demeans, offends, or physically assaults women.

So is it part of the #METOO movement? Is it a response to WOKE culture? Is Cassie the hero or the villain? As the film progresses the viewer is left processing the meaning of her actions. But she is right, isn’t she? And she is a also a criminal, right? Does the end justify the means? Should some things be dismissed because they were long ago? 


From the neon-drenched nightclubs to the hazy small-town tree-lined avenues, the film switches palettes as often as the clever screenplay plays with your expectations. Some may struggle with the shifts in tone, but the film is deliberately keeping viewers on their toes: don’t get complacent, pay attention.

You feel for her and you fear for her.  And you’ll follow her to the end.  And the unexpected conclusion will continue the conversation long after the film is over.

This gripping film should gain a lot of positive word of mouth, and you’d wonder if a full cinema release last year as intended would have given it breakout indie hit status.

The film won Best British Film and Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTAs and is nominated for Academy Awards (Film, Directing, Screenplay, Editing and Actress in a Leading Role) later in April.


PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN is available digitally in the US, and on Sky Cinema in the UK from April 16.

And once you have watched the film, you can read the script here from Variety.


PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
FOCUS FEATURES (2020)

Written and Directed by Emerald Fennell

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Laverne Cox, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Alfred Molina.

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