Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★½

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

This review may contain spoilers.

CONTENT WARNING: sexual assault, along with massive spoilers for the ending.

I’ve been back and forth on my thoughts for a while now and I’m still not completely confident in how I feel about this.... it was probably my most anticipated of the year so I’m a little disappointed. Carey Mulligan is undeniably fantastic and deserves all of the acclaim she’s getting and then some, but then Jennifer Coolidge, Molly Shannon, and Laverne Cox deserve SO much more than what they got. It’s so welcoming to see them in anything but it always annoys me that their talents aren’t seen all the way through. The intensity was also palpable which I greatly admire, and I can’t wait to see what else Emerald Fennell churns out in the future. My problems with the film go beyond that however. In truth, this frustrated me to a degree I haven’t been by a movie in some time.

(NOW IF YOU HAVENT SEEN THE MOVIE THIS IS WHERE THE REAL SPOILERS BEGIN SO DONT READ FORWARD IF YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW). 

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The potential that life holds after trauma is one I’ve always held the most sacred, and the message of hope that that brings to see people living the lives they want to live in the aftermath of sexual violence is certainly what got me through the aftermath of mine. I know I sound very sensitive in saying this but to see that taken away at the end of this movie, by killing off Cassie’s character especially in the way that they did, made me very upset.... far more than I would have ever expected myself to be. Not because I was attached to her character (which I was!), but because I don’t understand why she had to die for justice to be seen through. The final scene is definitely satisfying but I found it a bit difficult to really revel in that satisfaction with her having been killed off. Obviously she didn’t deserve to die and that’s part of the narrative of injustices that the film is entrenched within, but it really irks me that they couldn’t let her live AND have justice served, instead of making it so that one can only be possible without the other happening. I will say I admire it for going to such a dark place and I would have loved to hear a full audience reaction from it but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and it also puts the movie as a whole at odds with itself. Of course this is just me, I can only speak for myself and my own experiences and if you got the satisfaction you needed from this narrative then I guess it doesn’t matter, but at this point in time I’m just.... a little bummed out. Let me sit with it for a while and maybe that will change.


UPDATE: I sat with it.... it got worse. The only thing that any of it did to me was elicit a reaction. I didn’t get any of the cathartic relief or satisfaction I was just annoyed. Still does not sit right with me.

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