“A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.” – IMDB
Wow. Just wow. I am still processing the wild twists and turns that this unique and deeply satisfying film had to offer. While I may be a gullible and easily-fooled audience member (which I say has more to do with my interest in plotlines more than my own naivete….but, hey, maybe I’m just a fool), I still believe that the seasoned moviegoers couldn’t predict some of the turns that Promising Young Woman takes. Let me clarify…
This film follows Cassie, a 30 year old woman who has dropped out of medical school, works at a coffee shop by day, and lives at home with her parents’ home following her best friend’s sexual assault and subsequent suicide. At night, Cassie’s sole focus is justice, which she metes out by pretending to be incoherently inebriated, making it very clear to whichever man tries to pick her up that she is inebriated and cannot consent, and just as the man is about to assault her, soberly confronting them with their criminal intentions. I will not say much more about this movie in order to avoid spoilers, but I will say that it is fantastic. The incredible balance between drama, comedy, revenge, and thriller; the casting (specifically of likable, comedic actors to underscore the point that the “nice” ones can be hiding much more sinister intentions); the acting; the script; the colors; the wardrobe; I absolutely recommend watching it.
After finishing Promising Young Woman, I realized that in the past month or so, I have watched this film, Michaela Coel’s HBO series I May Destroy You, and have read Chanel Miller’s incredible memoir, Know My Name. Without meaning to, I engaged with these three raw, honest pieces related to sexual assault within a short period of time. And with each viewing/reading, I found myself gesticulating wildly in the air and shouting “YES, EXACTLY” at the top of my lungs. All three pieces highlight not only experiences with sexual assault, but the micro and macro-toxicity that women face on the DAILY.
As a now 30 year old millennial, I am still processing all of the developments from the Me Too movement. I am reevaluating events or situations that have been uncomfortable, but that were quickly brushed off or set aside. As women, we are quick to minimize or to blame ourselves and that is a difficult mindset to change. However, it does feel different now that we are sharing these experiences and finding out that we were not alone after all. And with films and novels like the three mentioned above in our collective cultural conscience, I am beginning to harbor some hope for change.
After all pop culture, whether we like to admit it or not, can have a major impact on society (please see War of the Worlds radio broadcast, The Interview almost setting off a nuclear war, etc…). NOW GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!
Rating: 9 out of 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: North Country, Suffragette
Streaming: Available for purchase or rent
With: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie
Directed By: Emerald Fennell