Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★★

I've had a lot of work the past week and so I was really glad I got to get away from my desk tonight and visit the the drive-in with Maggie to see this movie! I gotta say I liked it a lot.

One thing I really appreciated about it was the script. In the way it's constructed; it just starts off with an engaging premise and protagonist and then each new scene is just an added layer that complicates both narratively and morally our original hook, character, and her relationships. And from that perspective, the building momentum of the film is very exciting to watch. The pacing felt very strong and I felt like reveals and twists happened as they should have and it all lead to a climax which was the right amount of frustrating and satisfying. The cast is very fun and I was genuinely surprised how many actors I just personally love were in this movie. Carey Mulligan is of course a highlight and carries the film. Also, shout out to Max Greenfield for portraying such a despicable character but finding a way to still make it funny. He especially shines when he comedically delivers a painfully ironic stretch of dialogue that serves as a moment for the audience to catch their breath after a particularly difficult scene.  

It seems to me many audience members are split on how they feel about this film. It's like there's a camp of viewers who think this is an entertaining and poignant critique of a toxic culture of sexual assault from a female perspective, meanwhile there's another group of viewers who see it as an inauthentic and exploitative "girl boss" movie that misses the mark in a very upsetting way. And for every person who thinks it's intelligent and powerful, I can find another person who thinks it's stupid and hollow. Granted, I think it's completely valid for any viewer to find this film triggering, upsetting, or terrible - especially with the content of the story. I also can see how one could see this film as lacking empathy in the way it goes about this narrative given the context. However, I personally think that this was a solid and well-executed film about a difficult but vitally important subject matter and that it explores this in a conflicting, challenging, and thoughtful way. I think the director did a great job at telling the story she needed to tell, and I think reactions and subsequent discussions on this film good or bad are inherently going to be important ones to have.

Emilio Miguel liked these reviews