This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Aelwyd’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Promising Young Woman is a deceptive film in the best possible way. At its core, its a story about a woman who actually stands up and fights back with great vigor, matching the intensity of the aggressors that have done harm onto her and the people she cares about. In a world where victims of sexual violence and assault whom may not ever seek justice for the wrongdoings done onto them themselves, and those around them left to help them pick up the pieces, Carrie Mulligan is their voice. She is this unbending force of revenge, a loud voice in a sea of hushes and move alongs. She is the ringing of the bell, the megaphone that reigns loud on those who wish to gaslight their victims into submission, silence and complacency; all while still maintaining her sanity, her truth, her humanity in the process of her revenge, debatably.
Carrie Mulligan gives an outstanding performance that keeps you glued to the screen from start to finish while maintaining a tone that always walks the morally grey line. This film could have easily been just another hellbent slasher film, but its more sophisticated in its design than that. It tricks its audience to think like the people who she's seeking revenge against. Firstly by painting this picture of her as this sociopath, a women deranged, and then continously revealing more of her actual character, the truth, that this is just a woman who is taking matters into her own hands, and it makes it harder to really fault her for that when any other woman in her position would have just faded away and accepted thats just how it is. Even at the end when we think she's lost forever, when we think she's just going to be another statistic, morbidly, she has the foresight to persevere on her quest even in death by acknowledging her possible demise. She's willing to risk it all for the sake of retribution because presumably, she has nothing left to live for from what had already been taken from her.
The title is deceiving. It makes you believe that the "promising" is meant to be what she could have been, which is a successful doctor if she didn't have to drop out of med school to take care of her friend, Nina. As a result of her trauma, she becomes so much more than that. She goes against the grain and paves together a whole new wave of justice, revenge, retribution on those deserving of it.
For those who had been taught by our culture that the responsibility of young women and what happens to them is solely their own accord, this film gives some catharsis to those people. By re-contextualizing/imagining these scenarios, it hits home hard on those whom continue to perpetuate this culture of cover up when they know they've done wrong against the innocent and naive.