Promising Young Woman (2020)

★★★★★ | by

Posted on Jan 14, 2021

© Focus Pictures | Merie Weismiller Wallace


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.

My new favourite creative team. Emerald Fennell and Carey Mulligan. Fennell has the vision, and Mulligan has the execution.

Promising Young Woman had everything a dark comedy thriller ought to be. It was funny, intense, dark, and most importantly of all, entertaining. Its dark comedy writing is reminiscent of Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges.

Its plot may not suit most filmgoers, offering a taste of the unexpected, but that’s what made it work. A different ending would have served the whole film an injustice. A revenge film like no other is its tagline, and I can not honestly think of another well-executed revenge movie that is timely.

Its soundtrack, like most successful creative endeavors, is scarily accurate. There is not a piece of music that accompanies a scene that does not fit. You can listen to it here (Spotify).

At multiple points in the film, I was brought to the uncomfortable edge of my seat, only to be smoothed back into the cushion with a well-timed joke. Mulligan brings with her that edge we’ve seen in BBC/Netflix’s Collateral, with a sprinkle of the charm from Inside Llewyn Davis.

A special mention is to go to Bo Burnham, who continues to surprise me in his serious roles. His comedic presence bounces well of Mulligan, as seen in the Paris Hilton scene. Yes, I said Paris Hilton. Now go and watch it. You just have to after hearing that, right?

On a serious note, the film brings together a perfect blend of thriller and comedy. I just want to see more of Mulligan and Fennell. In a world filled with features released once a week on Netflix, hopefully I won’t be waiting too long.

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