Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★½

It's worth watching solely for Carey Mulligan's performance - this might be the best work I've ever seen her do, so brimming with angry intelligence and sarcastic good-humour that almost every line she says threatens to send the story veering off into a whole new unpredictable direction. Her best performance it may be, but it's certainly not her best role, not by miles. It's getting to be something of a cliche to say that her character talks like a Twitter thread, but seriously - would we be hearing any of this in an actual real-life conversation? The whole film is rather disappointing, to be honest: we keep wanting Mulligan to do some physical harm, if not so that we can watch would-be rapists getting annihilated then at least so that a film that's been characterised by the prospect of violence never following through can end with a cathartic payoff. But it's fairly clear from the opening scene that it's not going to be that kind of film, and the payoff we do get involves a plot development so nightmarishly bad, so unpleasant for unpleasantness's sake, and so tonally mismanaged that it makes everything praiseworthy about the film retroactively less appealing.

PS. What exactly was going on with the repeated invocation of Night of the Hunter? Did Emerald Fennell just pick it because it had the word "hunter" in the title?

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