Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman

“Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?”

Promising Young Woman is a challenging film, in some good ways and some bad ways. I appreciate the filmmaking craft and performances greatly, and I think the intentions are more than pure but the execution leaves me troubled to a degree.

To get into the nuances of the issue in a brief review is difficult, so for brevity’s sake I will just say that I don’t love how the film marketed itself as a fantasy revenge thriller which basically implied she’d be killing the men who are trying to assault her or other women, when in actuality she simply teaches them a lesson by threatening them in varying ways. The women involved in a particular incident which was impactful in Cassie’s life actually got the worst of her punishments, and the scene involving Allison Brie in particular was very disturbing and made me question whether Cassie was as virtuous as the film wanted us to believe.

I love what the movie is trying to do in addressing that rape culture is a systemic issue, one which is larger than any single individual & one which is perpetuated by both men and women, but the movie’s way of getting to this point just didn’t entirely land with me. I loved it a lot upon initial viewing, but time has caused me to re-evaluate my feelings about it. The ending especially felt more bitter than sweet to me, and the film wants us to walk out thinking it is a victory when that position directly contradicts what is put forward by the messaging of the rest of the story.

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