‘Promising Young Woman’ Review: A Disturbing And Entertaining Revenge Thriller

Promising Young Woman

From the moment I saw the trailer for Promising Young Woman, I found myself eagerly awaiting the opportunity to screen this film. I adore Carey Mulligan, and the description reminded me of one of my favorite guilty pleasures from a few years back (ABC’s Revenge). And let’s be real; it never hurts when you throw in a Britney Spears song, especially “Toxic.” Sign me up!

Promising Young Woman, director Emerald Fennell, delivers a delicious new take on revenge. Everyone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was a promising young woman… until an event occurred that abruptly derailed her future. From the viewer’s perspective, nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart and cunning – and she’s living a secret double life by night. The center of the plot presents Cassie with an unexpected encounter that gives her the chance to right the wrongs of the past – but things might not play out the way you expect…

Check out the trailer for the film below.


Promising Young Woman Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like

Promising Young Woman is a dark and wickedly smart tale of revenge. And in response to my opening comment about ABC’s Revenge – this film makes that series look like it should be rated G.

While messy in parts, the storyline feels as unpredictable and (sometimes as shaky) as Cassie’s mental health. That being said, as a female, you can’t help but root for this twisted superhero of sorts who is identifying and targeting the men who usually identify, target, and take advantage of females.

Carey Mulligan delivers one of the best performances of 2020 in this role, and I suspect that we’ll see her nominated come award season here in a few months. Her performance paired with Fennell’s engrossing script packs a strong emotional punch – causing the viewer to be uncomfortable and anxious for the full run-time. The twists and turns here allow every side of Cassie to shine through – and Mulligan nails every one of them.

At its core, Promising Young Woman is a rape revenge thriller that’s perfectly timed and incredibly creative. Fennell’s script creates strong and engaging characters that fall into the storyline with ease. There is a fair amount of violence, but it’s done purposefully and with intention – weaving together this whole dark masterpiece, which by the way, is the directorial debut for Fennell.

One last note here, the entire ensemble cast also delivers performances as fantastic as Mulligan – Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Lowell, Sam Richardson, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown. They all do an impressive job with each of their characters – however small or featured they may be.

Overall Thoughts

This film comes out on Christmas Day – despite the lack of holiday cheer it brings to the screen. I’m not sure I understand the studios’ thought-process with that decision… as this definitely not a movie I recommend you see on Christmas. There’s nothing about this film that is family-friendly or really even happy (though it does get billed on IMBD as a “Comedy, Crime, Drama”). That being said, Promising Young Woman isn’t afraid to take risks – and while it’s not for everyone, it’s one hell of an entertaining, disturbing, and thrilling ride.

Promising Young Woman Review:

Grade: A

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