Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman

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

This review may contain spoilers.

(tw brief mentions of sexual and physical violence in the review, which is a given considering the film's subject matter)

in gregg araki's the doom generation, it states itself to be a "heterosexual film", to the point where it intentionally gives a vicious, hellish course-correction when its two male protagonists come close to a sexual encounter—nazis draped in american flags brutalise the heroic trio, leaving only two alive and speechless in an america now drained of colour and queerness. the second man is taken out of the equation by force, leaving only a man and a woman—a new creation myth for the violence of heteronormativity.

promising young woman course-corrects by calling itself "a new take on the rape-revenge thriller" which just means no satisfying and bloody justice is done because that is the domain of male fantasy. instead the film admonishes cassie for finally seeming set to do some hard candy / dragon tattoo shit (two infinitely better films), and kills her so the acceptable arbiter of justice that is one of the ultimate protectors of rapists, the police, can serve good old-fashioned liberal justice, can sand the film off into ending like an SVU episode.

so what's the revenge she does when alive? oh yeah, she tells a few guys they suck and also tricks a woman into believing she's been raped. a) yawn and b) in a better film that latter act would register as disturbing moral event horizon but here it just feels like a severe, borderline insulting misunderstanding of the act and gravity of rape which surely you wouldn't want to fuck up in a film that's about that. a bunch of the men here also seem like collations of an AI scanning the @sheratesdogs twitter account - there's a david foster wallace guy, a guy who says "m'lady", a guy who repeatedly says "i'm a nice guy". it's too formulaic and archetypal.

regardless i can't say i like hated it because at least there was some stylistic interest and decent performances, but this film as a whole more stands out as a symptom of the reductionism of liberal feminism than a radical reclamation of a genre.

postscript: reader, she did end up hating it.

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