Promising Young Woman Review – Strong Performances Drive this Dark Revenge Dramady

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Promising Young Woman, from Focus Features, presents a story of female revenge as our hero sets off on a mission to change an ingrained belief and behavior and bring about a day of reckoning for the guilty.

As the film begins, it hints at a woman on the edge, Cassandra, played by Carrie Mulligan, is sitting, alone, in a bar and appears to be wasted drunk unable to comprehend her surroundings. A trio of suits each complaining about the females at their firm see her and suddenly the topic turns to ripe for the taking.

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Our modern Neanderthal’s spend a few minutes redirecting the blame for their thoughts to the drunken female when one decides to see if he can help her. Slowly passing each test, our pseudo-champion begins to deteriorate. He asks her to his place to have a drink, knowing she is already wasted, he without consent and knowing she is already wasted begins what he believes is fully consensual.

Our girl, not drunk at all, simply acting, stops the suits stranger from rape. This style of scene happens twice in the film, as seemingly good guys, together, with promise, are all about getting laid, and plying the female with drugs, alcohol until she is without control and cannot give consent.

Once we understand the foundation of the story, the motivation for her actions tug at the mind. Is she simply mentally unstable? Why is she one this one-person crusade to change the ingrained male belief that a drunken or drugged female is ripe for rape? The cause is honorable but why the methodology?

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Soon we see a bit more about our crusader she once had a best friend Nina, inseparable from grade school, and she dropped out of medical school, and then we believe we know the truth.

Finally, after what seems like a moment of calm, and maybe the possibility that she has bounced out of the darkness that held her for so long, she decides intellectual turnabout is fair play. Unsure of her next move, our hero receives a package that sets her on one final ultimate stealth revenge trip.

Promising Young Women, a story ripped from the headlines, fleshes out some oft overlooked truths about date rape and presents a solid story that grabs the viewer and just hangs on as she travels this uncharted journey.

The destructive, derailment as the promising, the best, brightest, the hopeful, the living, are kicked to the ground, while the well-positioned and manipulators of the system find ways to rationalize their behavior and step on the backs of the injured to provide a boost to their future. Not one look in the rearview, not one concern over the injured, and typical of abusers unable to even remember their names.

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The film isn’t about stranger rape, the film deals with the alleged enlightened. Those among us who are tomorrow’s leaders, the gifted. And believe a “discretion” shouldn’t derail their future also. The film highlights the societal ingrained beliefs by those in authority to adore the man child while destroying the female.

Unfortunately, drunken gang rapes by the well-positioned and promising happen more than statistics reveal. The boys will be boys, or she shouldn’t have as we fill in the blank with an applicable rationalization, redirecting fault and blame, has reached its saturation point.

Promising Young Woman may be uncomfortable for some. It takes a hidden topic and wrestles the beast to the ground exposing raw truth, in a world where a hidden evil may lay dormant until a trigger pushes the release. Still, we must caution our daughters even among friends, and teach our sons from infancy to respect others. Always. Especially when presented with low hanging fruit.

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Utilizing a color palette that invokes good feelings, Promising Young Woman brings together a stellar cast, led by Carrie Mulligan. With standout scenes by Alfred Molina, in an uncredited role as the defense lawyer whose ethical compass crashed; Bo Burnham and Alison Brie each running from the past. Jennifer Coolidge and Clancy Brown, who travel a dark, uncharted road with their daughter and Molly Shannon who effectively shuts the door on the past.

Each of these players are carrying the burden without fully understanding the emotional trauma and motivation, without the tools, the equipment to assist. We see various means of dealing with the trauma, exposing, the skip over, stuck in essentially a time warp, the erase, and revenge all built into our storyline.

Promising Young Woman, for some will be a glimmer of light, the just desserts the system has denied them, for others simply a dark revenge dramady. Well written with an exceptional ensemble cast, the story tackles a taboo. Promising Young Woman is scheduled for release December 25, 2020. See it.


Year – 2020.

Director – Emerald Fennell.

Screenwriter – Emerald Fennell.

Cinematography – Benjamin Kracun.

Producer – Emerald Fennell, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, Josey McNamara, Ben Browning and Ashley Fox. 

Cast – Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Alison Brie, Alfred Molina, Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chris Lowell, Sam Richardson, Molly Shannon, Clancy Brown.

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