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promising young woman


director: Emerald Fennell (debut)

starring: carey mulligan, bo burnham, alison brie and alfred molina

REVIEWER: lyall carter

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

Once a year I see a movie that shocks, perplexes, entertains and stays in my mind weeks after I’ve seen it. Last year that film was 1917. This year it's Promising Young Woman. It’s about as perfect as a movie can get. Make sure you catch this in cinemas. It's gonna be a cult classic. 


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…


I’m not gonna spill any secrets here. Don’t want to spoil it for you. But narratively this film, at one point, does a big 180, a narrative full stop. It will take your breath away much like Parasite’s narrative turn does. It is so SO good. Man. What a film. 


Even though the film is just shy of two hours long it felt like there was a lot packed into the story. We discover Cassie’s ‘secret’ through a series of events and people which all feels perfectly natural and not as if we were being fed plot details. This film doesn’t just pop everything on a platter. It makes you work for it, to stay slightly confused with questions that it will answer later. 


The themes explored in Promising Young Woman are not at all for the faint hearted. Rape, men accused of rape and sexual abuse being believed over women - all of this is explored. It’s tough going at times but it is a conversation that we need to be having. 


Carey Mulligan should win every award gong this awards season. She is superb. Wickedly charming but also super smart, broken and forgiving. Her performance is one for the ages filled with such raw and brutal truth that you’d swear her character was truly real. 


Promising Young Woman is about as perfect as a movie can get. Make sure you catch this in cinemas. It's gonna be a cult classic.


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