Cody’s review published on Letterboxd:
Promising Young Woman is a film that walks to its own beat.
Revenge thrillers can be a pretty slippery slope - there have been so many made, which makes it difficult to find a film that truly is unique. Unfortunately, most of these films fall into the same trap, relying on tropes that are overdone and end up being predictable. But, when done right, a revenge thriller can be much more than a good time, and thankfully, Promising Young Woman offers so much more.
Narratively, this film is astonishing. The setup of the story is so different, slowly unfolding, but allowing enough room to breathe and have a good time before building more and moving on. I found myself entranced from the opening scene (which isn’t surprising, any film that features a Charli XCX during the opening is bound to capture my attention) and never lost interest. Once this film sinks its claws into you, it really is hard to shake off.
Carey Mulligan truly is the standout of the film. She handles this role with a lot of care, but manages to act the hell out of it. She seemed at ease throughout the entire film, but still managed to create a multi-layered performance that is one of the year’s strongest. This ensemble really was something special, not a single person seemed out of place, and honestly seemed perfectly fit for their roles. With a cast as strong as this one, and with a screenplay that’s as smart as this one was, it’s no surprise that this film worked so well.
Revenge films can be cathartic, seeing justice be served when someone has been wronged. Sexual assault is an unfortunate part of our society, and this film manages to tackle it with a lot of care, offering a release for those who don’t get their stories told, who aren’t believed, who get looked over. The ending of the film, as shocking as it is, still ends up being satisfying, but doesn’t push over the line that would have its story exploit sexual assault survivors.
Promising Young Woman is one of the year’s strongest films, as well as one of the most entertaining. It was wonderful to be able to sit in a dark theater and get lost for a couple of hours. I’ve found myself watching more and more now that I’ve been home, but am easily distracted by my phone or laptop, so it was refreshing to sit in a theater and not have any sort of distractions. I honestly cannot wait to see this film again, I’d love to watch it with some friends and see their reactions.
*I was fortunate enough to catch this on a fairly empty showtime, and I was so glad that people actually wore their masks during the entire film. I had seen Hillbilly Elegy in a theater alone, so it was fun to see people’s reactions to this