Promising Young Woman (2020) Review
To start, I would like you to read the online descriptions of the film. IMDB's description is: "A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path". The Google description is: "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 from the past". If you asked me what the film was about, my description would be "Cassie Thomas does everything in her power to right the wrong and restore whatever legacy is left of her friend Nina who was a victim of rape."
These Hollywood descriptions are glazing over the events that are the reason why the film is even happening. Nina is the main character of the film, not Cassie. Though we are following the life of Cassie, she is merely an embodiment of justice in the tragedy of Nina Fisher.
Cassie's whole existence is dedicated to taking down the man responsible for Nina's demise. In doing so, she shows us how society reacts to cases of rape and how many people are still afraid to speak out against it. Carey Mulligan delivers yet another powerful performance. She shows us that Cassie is living with such deep trauma and has a conviction for revenge.
From a storytelling perspective, the plot is easy to follow since Cassie introduces us to many new people in almost every scene, which keeps the story fresh and exciting. Within just a few scenes, we are introduced to an old University friend, Madison, Cassie's Dean at her University, and Defence attorney, Jordan Green. As these conversations unfold, bits of information are provided to us regarding Nina's case. The clever dialogue keeps us constantly guessing and asking more questions.
Each of these encounters provide us with an example as to how people are afraid to speak out against men who commit such disgusting acts and end up getting away with it; especially with regards to the few women in the film who have turned a blind eye.
The scenes most people on social media seem to be talking about are Cassie's adventures at nightclubs in secret. Cassandra is the hero we need in the world as she suits up every night to seek out predators who take advantage of drunk women at clubs. These scenes are both incredibly satisfying and painful to watch as every "nice guy" thinks they can do whatever they want to take advantage of her, only to be caught once she exposes them. The casting for these "nice guy" roles are not only incredibly fun, but meant to prove a point. A guy like Adam Brody would be the last guy anyone would think to be a sexual predator but that is the point. It forces us, the viewer, to reevaluate society's view of a sexual predator.
Emerald Fennell deserves a lot of praise for making very courageous creative choices, particularly one in the third act that people can't stop talking about. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a great film.
Score/Music 8 /10
Cinematography 8 /10
Editing & Effects 9 /10
Overall : 4.5 / 5 Stars