PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This is the kind of film you want everyone to see but can’t and shouldn’t give away any spoilers to get them to the theaters. Think of the iconic 1992 film The Crying Game, where you find out the girl is a dude at the end of the movie, and you’ll understand what I am talking about. In writer/director Emerald Fennell’s feature film debut Promising Young Woman, the punch line has nothing to do with gender fluidity. Instead, it’s all about revenge. And as we all know, revenge is a dish better served up cold and covered in a generous gravy of surprise.
Promising Young Woman tells the story of Cassie (Carey Mulligan) herself, a promising young medical student. Until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. When we meet her, she’s living at home and working as a snarky barista in an independent coffee shop owned by her friend Gail (Laverne Cox). Nothing in Cassie’s life is what it looks like on the surface. Being extremely smart and cunning, she uses her intelligence to live a secret vigilante double life at night.
Cassie pretends to be a different, very drunk person each night at various clubs. She waits for a “Nice Guy” to help her get home safely. Unfortunately for them, they seldom take her home. Instead, they try to take advantage of the beautiful drunk girl. In the process, they get a much-needed lesson in sexual politics and the cost of making bad choices.
As the story progresses, Cassie finds love in an old medical schoolmate named Ryan (Bo Burnham). He meets her at her coffee shop and is smitten by the sharp-tongued woman she has turned into. This love affair is her chance to make a go of her life, leaving her vendetta behind her. Except Ryan is still friends with some of the boys from medical school that started her downward spiral. Cassie realizes that now she has a chance to right the wrongs of the past in a spectacular way.
Promising Young Woman is a well-acted with witty dialogue morality play. At its core, it’s about the cost of society’s propensity to look the other way and just say “boys will be boys” when people actually get hurt. It’s a great way to end this crazy pandemic year.
I give Promising Young Woman a 4-star rating. It’s a great gift to unwrap this holiday season.
Directed by: Emerald Fennell
Written by: Emerald Fennell
Selig Rating: 4 Stars
Running Time: 1hr 53min
Dark Comedy/ Crime
Wide Release: DFW area AMC theaters, Village on the Parkway December 25th
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.