#REVIEW: “PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”
By Mr. Will Wong
Actress Emerald Fennell makes her directorial debut in PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, which made a huge splash at Sundance. While the Pandemic has continued to delay its release, it proves well worth the wait as it arrives on-demand just as we get into the thick of awards season. And a contender this is.
The twisty Black Comedy centers on Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a young woman whom after some time in med school, drops-out after experiencing some trauma, resulting in the loss of her best friend. She devotes her life to getting even, living a double life that involves being the daughter her parents think she is and also placing herself in vulnerable situations with predatory men, and then teaching them a lesson. The right guy potentially comes along in Ryan (Bo Burnham) and things get a bit complicated as her worlds converge, but are things really what they seem with the mysterious Cassie and what consequences will come of her deception?
Mulligan already has given us some phenomenal performances in her career, but this goes down as a career best. She’s careful never to give too much away, equal parts manipulative and scary as she is grounded and what we feel is a reliable narrator. Fennell crafts something hypnotic and completely messed-up, but never nearly as messed-up as the vicious cycle of misogyny and male entitlement that Cassie is fighting. Her bravado tackling toxic masculinity with the tempered sophistication she possesses, is worthy of applause. She’ll keep you guessing right up to the end.
Above this, the highly-stylized Film features a stellar Soundtrack filled with some darkened takes on Pop hits which while ultimately tackling some dark subject matter, gives the Film a shiny neon hue. The early Awards Season chatter comes as no surprise and this could well go all the way.
Focus Features release PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN on-demand Friday, January 25, 2021.