Carey Mulligan provides a masterclass in fierce femininity untouched by any performance I’ve seen in decades–her mix of soft sexiness combined with cold hearted bitch is perfectly balanced on the rocking scales of justice and makes Promising Young Woman a must-see.
Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) is an ex-med student working at an adorable coffee shop run by her friend Gail (Laverne Cox). She’s skating by, deftly avoiding the judgmental and disappointed blows from mom and dad (Jennifer Coolidge & Clancy Brown) while definitely not filled with regret or remorse over the trauma and crushing grief of her past. No, no–the regret and remorse are completely drowned out by a screaming lust for revenge. Cassandra’s developed a sneaky tactic to work out her rage, though, which she’s been perfecting for some time…
Impeccable costume & makeup design, bolstered by deliciously sugar-sweet art design, create a timeless and almost psychedelic masterpiece. Equal parts rom-com, thriller, and femme fatale revenge flick, Promising Young Woman blows most feminist fiction out of the water. Not man-hating, Promising Young Woman fans out the guilt and blame of the horrific crimes done to women to all responsible parties–it doesn’t matter who you are, your silence is compliance and your compliance condones the unthinkable. The moral of Promising Young Woman is never muddied–it remains as clear and stony-eyed as Cassandra herself.
I’m thrilled to see something as powerful, fun, deep, and exhilarating as Promising Young Woman hit our screens. The stunning cast disappears–beautifully–into the script, never too overt or too tongue in cheek. Mulligan is a powerhouse, leading the pack with grace and grit that anyone I know would find enviable. Cox is a delightful backup proving that behind every woman is another amazing woman fixing her crown.
There’s not a lack of resolve present in a single moment of this film. An absolutely fantastic soundtrack, composed of 16 songs including four originals written for the film, drives the fun and ferocity of the film like a coked-out heartbeat. A particular highlight is a remarkable version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (re-imagined here by composer Anthony Willis) which plays during a particularly badass moment of the film. In a world where multimedia sellability is king–or, in this case, queen–a soundtrack like this will have a life well beyond the movie screen and should make an impact on coming-of-age women (and men and non-binary) for a long time to come.
The fantastic finale driven by a perfect song had me laughing and cheering out loud, thankful for the roller-coaster ride that left me breathless, flushed, and grinning from ear to ear. That may not be the reaction everyone had but as far as I’m concerned, if this movie scared you then you deserve to be scared.
Promising Young Woman is playing now in theaters and will be released on demand on January 15th, 2021.
10 out of 10