PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020) Reviews and overview

 

‘Revenge never looked so promising’

Promising Young Woman is a 2020 American feature film about the protagonist, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeking vengeance.

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, the movie stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox and Clancy Brown. Fennell produced along with Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Josey McNamara for LuckyChap Entertainment and Ben Browning and Ashley Fox for FilmNation Entertainment.

Plot:

Everyone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was a promising young woman… until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of the past…

Reviews:

“Fennell complicates matters throughout, toying with our identification by pushing Cassie’s tactics into some uncomfortably nasty places, even as she slowly reveals her motives. (Mulligan, her smoky voice dripping with rage and sorrow, resists making Cassie a one-dimensional avenging angel, peppering her crusade with notes of doubt and self-loathing.)” AV Club

Carey Mulligan stars as Cassie in director Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Promising Young Woman is truly an ambitious debut feature film from Fennell, who taps into the frustrations of the female experience with a tangible ferocity that ripples throughout her sharply written script. There are a handful of wildly unexpected tonal shifts that drive the material of PYW, but those bold swings from Fennell feel right in line with the film’s protagonist, who is also unyielding, impetuous, and unpredictable throughout this story.” Daily Dead

Promising Young Woman overcomes the storied history of its subgenre and some unwieldy tonal shifts with a subversive narrative streak and an imperative performance from star Carey Mulligan. With just a scrunch of her face or a furrow of her brow, Mulligan tells the audience everything they need to know. Everything they need to know about the criminal justice system […] a truly sensational movie.” Dread Central

“There are plenty of Me Too era films skewering this kind of abuse, but Promising Young Woman is one of only a few that actually seems to want to spark serious conversations about any of it. Carey Mulligan matches that energy of going somewhere provocative every step of the way; people will label Cassandra everything from an avenger to a psychopath, but the reality is the character can’t be placed into a box, much like this film is impossible to categorize in one singular genre.” Flickering Myth

“Mulligan is, as you might expect, excellent here, but the rest of the film never rises to her level. It’s frankly a mess, largely due to its inconsistent tone. Many of its issues stem from its failure to credit the audience with an ability to foreshadow its plot. We know where things are headed with Cassie and Ryan as soon as they meet…” The Movie Waffler

Promising Young Woman uses our shared love of watching the righteous infliction of retribution to make a much more important point about a culture which gives promising young men the benefit of the doubt it doesn’t give to promising young women. And Fennell doesn’t allow her film, for all its external signifiers, to just be a throwaway revenge flick with a post-2019 bent. It’s got too much to say, and too many mirrors to hold up.” Nerdist

“There are times when it feels like Fennell bit off a bit more than most debut writer/directors do, but give me a young filmmaker who swings for the fences over one who plays it safe any day. And give me one who makes a movie that doesn’t just use trauma as an emotional manipulation or put women in jeopardy as a cheap writing trick. Promising Young Woman is as confident as its protagonist, a film that’s willing to be a little messy and inconsistent in a way that reflects Cassie’s existence.” RogerEbert.com

“In Cassandra, Fennell has created an indelible character, both victim and victimizer, both survivor and perpetrator, all wrapped up in razor-sharp dialogue, twisty plot turns (some slightly more predictable than others), and a bittersweet denouement that aligns perfectly with her thematic concerns while delivering the cathartic pleasures audiences crave from revenge-themed films.” Screen Anarchy

“There are a ton of great moments throughout this film, but the unexpected twists and turns are where Promising Young Woman truly shines. The story plays out in such a smart way that even though the ending isn’t exactly a happy one, it still makes you want to stand up and cheer because it wasn’t afraid to go there. I loved that so much.” We Live Entertainment

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Release:

Promising Young Woman is slated for a December 25th 2020 theatrical release from Focus Features.

Cast and characters:

Carey Mulligan … Cassandra Thomas
Bo Burnham … Ryan
Laverne Cox … Gail
Clancy Brown … Stanley Thomas
Jennifer Coolidge … Susan
Alison Brie … Madison
Christopher Mintz-Plasse … Neil
Molly Shannon … Mrs Fisher
Angela Zhou … Todd
Sam Richardson … Paul
Connie Britton … Dean Walker
Steve Monroe … Detective Lincoln Walker
Casey Adams … George
Francisca Estevez … Amber
Timothy E. Goodwin … Monty

Filming locations:

Los Angeles, California

Technical details:

113 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.39: 1
Audio: Dolby Atmos

YouTube reviews: