Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

i almost never review films and if i do i never write smth long, but god, i need to do it for this because i have Thoughts™ (spoilers ahead, unless you read The Thread™)

i didn't like this and quite frankly, i don't understand how anybody can look at this and like it. it's a candy colored rape revenge film, smth meant to be #empowering and to make viewers #fightlikeagirl, but underneath it, it's rotten. there's venom directed at the world and the justice system (as there should be), but the way the story deals with the story is so incredibly rotten to me.

you have cassie, a woman whose best friend was raped and who ended up killing herself, going on a quest to teach men a lesson. cassie abandoned her ambitions to become a doctor to instead avenge her best friend. she's turned from a, well, promising young woman, to an angry, grieving vigilante.

we know cassie is in her 30s, she lives with her parents, likes colorful things, and doesn't take any shit from anybody. she's a full-fledged character. we know nothing about her best friend. the only pieces of info we get is that her name was nina, she, too, dreamed of becoming a doctor, and she had a bffs necklace with cassie. that's it. even if there had been a reference or two to what nina was like or what she liked, it would have been good enough to make her a ghost in cassie's life, not a fucking plot device.

cassie's actions are motivated by nina's death, and yet they still very self-centered. it doesn't feel like she's avenging her death by picking up men and serving them a monologue about being careful (do you actually think that this will do anything? i'm not saying she should castrate them, but a man who would be willing to sleep with someone who is too drunk to consent would not hear a warning and think twice the next time). not even her massive revenge plan to actually do smth about her friend's death feels like she's avenging nina. it's all about making herself feel better.

cassie serves lessons to a former friend by getting her drunk and leaving her alone in a restaurant and then by lying to the dean of her former uni that her daughter is in danger. it's too late now to do smth, so cassie finds only a 'i'm sorry' to be enough from them which really shows that the whole thing is about HER. what will 'i'm sorry' do to nina? nothing. but to cassie, hearing those words help her which, okay, sure, but you're trying to avenge your best friend's death and at this point, an apology would only help YOU.

(i'm not trying to invalidate cassie's pain, but her mission to bring justice to her best friend comes off as being mostly about cassie)

and then there's the ending. god, that fucking ending. cassie dies. she dies at the hands of nina's rapist and her body ends up being burned by him and a friend. it's bad enough on its own, but then we get to the last twist: turns out, cassie had a grand plan! she was gonna die a martyr and bring her friend's rapist to justice. hooray! hooray?

first of all, the twist that cassie not only dies, but she dies at the hands of her friend's rapist, is so disgusting. how would anybody think that's a good idea? plus, this film insinuates that you can never let the emotional wound caused by the grief and pain to scar. it will always be open unless you die in a horrific way at the hand of a rapist in which case you get nothing.

then, really? it's up to a judge and a jury? you're gonna leave it to a fucked system that almost never serves justice? remember brock turner, the promising young man? remember him? and let's say they find the rapist in the film guilty. he could get a couple of decades in prison, but could STILL get out after a few years. yeah, he's gonna forever be haunted by the charges, but he could still rehabilitate himself and you know most of the people around him will stick by because who will they believe? some dead girl who left clues or this hero, this doctor they all know and love? they'll think he was wrongfully convicted. also, again, do you believe that the system that didn't give your friend the respect she needed at first will actually give any of you respect now? even with the proof?

and lastly, the rapist is arrested for murdering cassie. not for the murder of one woman and the rape of another one. he gets arrested for murdering cassie. 'but!!! the proof!!! cassie sent the video to someone!!!' so, basically cassie sacrificed herself just so her friend could get justice? it was all about CASSIE, not nina. cassie took her friend's trauma and made it all about herself. herself herself herself.

idek if any of this makes sense, but my reading of the film is not what most people seem to have gotten out of it. i tried to forget all about The Thread™, but god, it's exactly like they said and it's disgusting. i hated it.

(one star because i loved the cast and they deserved better.)

e. rizzo-olson liked this review