Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★

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

This review may contain spoilers.

Some complicated feelings on this one. Firstly, I love the premise. Carey Mulligan is incredibly engaging as an avenging protagonist. For a long portion of the movie, I was a bit disappointed. It looked and sounded good, but it was lot of telling and not showing. I started to worry that the whole movie would be one angry monologue after another. Some of her schemes seemed poorly thought out (no way that Dean didn't immediately call the cops).
Then the third act hits. Holy Shit! What ever else one can say about this movie, you can't call it timid. The choice to give Burnham's character culpability in the inciting crime was a strong choice and the right one. This bold choice is followed by another much bolder choice. Killing off the protagonist with twenty minutes left in the movie is among the most shocking plot developments I've seen in a while. Until that last story beat. I felt as much catharsis when Muligan got her revenge from beyond the grave as anyone, but the more I thought about it the more it felt too clean. I feel like this movie tried to have it both ways. It wanted to be stark mirror held up to the audience, but it didn't want to end in too dark a place. I think in this instance, the movie would have been better served by choosing one or the other. Either let Carey Mulligan live, and enact cathartic vengeance, or kill her, and give us a bold but realistic dark ending. Make us hate the ending because it makes us hate reality. As it is, the crossed messaging undercut the movie's ability to hit either quality as effectively as it could have.
This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the movie, I did. I just think it pulled it's punch at the last minute and I wanted to get hit harder.

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