Friday, December 25, 2020

Promising Young Woman - Movie Review

The Movie: Promising Young Woman

The Director: Emerald Fennell

The Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Laverne Cox

The Story: A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who cross her path.

The Review:
Sometimes revenge films are an extremely bloody affair like Tarantino's Kill Bill movies or Coralie Fargeat's Revenge and if you haven't seen Revenge so watch it right now. Sometimes revenge films take a less bloody approach although they can be just as impactful and just as jarring and that's exactly where this movie falls in and I mean in the best way possible. Emerald Fennell's story is an in your face attack on toxic masculinity and men's tactics on taking advantage of women as they find themselves in compromising positions.

Men, generally speaking, can be horrible human beings when it comes to these types of things and so many of them deserve to be at least put in their place if not severely punished and that's where Carey Mulligan's character comes in. Mulligan is just brilliant in this role and about as perfectly cast as a person could be. She brings a particular personality to the role that I'm not sure anyone else could have captured in the same way and the I don't give a f**k attitude she has is what makes it so entertaining.

At first glance, this might seem like a simple man bashing movie and it kind of is but it's also an exploration in mental health and what it takes for human beings to reach certain critical points in their lives. There really isn't a simple answer for Cassandra, Mulligan's character, as far as why she does what she does and what ultimately leads to the conclusion of the movie. She has some serious stuff in her past and she feels completely justified in dishing out life lessons to men who feel they are entitled to take pretty much whatever they want for themselves including women and their bodies.

The cast is also filled out beautifully with a really strong roster of talent featuring Alison Brie who seems to be in just about everything these days, legend Jennifer Coolidge who to me will always be Stifler's mom, another legend, Clancy Brown who has built a very impressive resume over the years, Christopher Mintz-Plasse who is perfectly suited for the character he plays in this movie, and Laverne Cox who is just great as Cassandra's probably too understanding coffee shop boss.

My comparisons to Kill Bill and Revenge go way beyond the basic idea of women getting revenge, all three protagonists really go through some stuff while on their journey and whether or not they survive comes into question on multiple occasions. The twists and turns that take place throughout this movie are often dizzying and I feel like when it's all said and done, Fennell has created one of the most uniquely satisfying conclusions to a movie that I have seen in quite some time. Throw in one of the best acting performances of the year and this is a movie you do not want to miss.

The Verdict:
Promising Young Woman is a powerful storytelling experience highlighted by Carey Mulligan at her absolute best. By the time it was over, I had no doubt this would end up being on just about everyone's best of 2020 lists.

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