Dylan Majerus’s review published on Letterboxd:
"Promising Young Woman" is frustrating because there's a conceptual framework that gives director Emerald Fennell the opportunity to be both thematically enlightening and stylistically proven. While I still find the positives to outweigh the negatives, there's a part of me that wishes this was a half rating better.
As the screenwriter of the story as well, Fennell proposes a handful of great ideas. I love everything in theory - a girl going out to bars and clubs pretending she's intoxicated to lure the scum of the nightlife into her seductive trap. At the same time, Cassie is reluctant to go back into dating because of her traumatic past. When Cassie reconnects with Ryan, a former classmate during medical school, she soon rediscovers a void in her heart that had been empty for so long.
As both a stirring thriller and romance, Fennell delicately balances an amalgamation of tones quite well. While it's impressive to see how the young director is able to engross the viewer into the characters lives at an early stage in their career, she lapses over some of her own script's most enticing elements.
I ultimately wanted to see more out of Cassie's exposure as this revenge seeking slayer, and wish Fennell took these thoughts a step further. We see how damaged and emotionally unrest Cassie is, and as a viewer, there's an outlet to connect with her suffering. It's somewhat contradicting to see how Cassie's actions support the Fennell's thematic intentions, though there is thought provoking commentary on about how the film exposes sexual assault, female retribution, and gender stereotypes.
The narrative with twists and turns that will shake the minds of its target audience. I personally like the direction Fennell took the film, subverting expectations to omit a more powerful, passionate feeling towards its subject manner.
Carey Mulligan proves that she's one of the most under-appreciated with a compelling, career shifting performance that is expressive, subtle, and dignified all at the same time. She's always been one of my favorites, and I'm glad Fennell's script gave her so many moments to shine .
For a directorial debut, Fennell is surely impressive. Touching on a very sensitive topic, her sharp exploration is cunning, mixing a blend of dark humor and provocative tropes that standout. "Promising Young Woman" has staying power to sit with you, and I'm looking forward to another viewing sometime in the future.