Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★★

Promising Young Woman is stark in its effectiveness. It is gorgeously shot and uses its casting like a weapon. It’s final half, more specifically, it’s final act had me curled up into a ball with my mouth agape.

But I’m still torn. I can see why so many believe this to be ineffective and hollow, even harmful in its makeup. I see that and I respect it. It’s just not how I feel. Promising Young Woman is not a film I believe should have won an Oscar (I don’t think any film should, I think awards shows are useless, but that’s a conversation for another day). But to say that it is ineffectual as a revenge-thriller or that it’s final act doesn’t at least reach for something meaningful is, I believe (but I won’t die on this hill), wrong. 

In regards to the chapter-like structuring of the narrative, I think it wields a lethal precision. It’s a countdown with an uncertain end. It’s finale a blunt force with some problematic elements. The casting is genius. Actors who so often occupy roles that are friendly, roles that are comedic and poppy, are used to fuel a tonal shift which acts as a stark metaphor for the film’s thesis. Ultimately, it’s central performance and the strength of its direction are more than worth the price of admission, funnelling you through conflicting and complex emotions with a tone that feels as candy coated as it does clinical and aloof.

I do not believe that Promising Young Woman is perfect, but I do believe it sticks the landing, if only wobbling as a result of misguided intentions.

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