There are certain movies that rely on scary relevancy to be effective in their screen translation. Our story follows a young woman named Cassie (Carrie Mulligan), who dropped out of nursing school due to a mysterious tragedy. Several years later, Cassie decides to enact her own form of vengeance on those who wronged her. That sort of plot certainly sounds like something you’d see in a forgettable 90s thriller, but that’s not the case. What makes “Promising Young Woman” the best film I've seen this year is because of the question of morality it asks. Those questions formulate into something that is superbly acted, sharply written and an overtly addicting watch. That can largely be attributed to director Emerald Fennell most notably stars in Netflix’s “The Crown” as Camilla Parker Bowles.
There’s an idea here of incredibly good people going to uncomfortable lengths to serve appropriate vengeance. Serving that vengeance makes scenes that don’t even involve “thrills” be darkly funny and emotionally investing as an audience member. We sympathize with Cassie and want her to find the peace that she is so desperately seeking. That process of finding peace comes in the form of trying to attach to a possible love interest (Bo Burnham) and exact her revenge on those who deserve it. It’s a true rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions as you’re watching and trust me when I say you won’t know where it's going. What helps is the fine cast of actors that Fennell has assembled in front of the camera.
Carey Mulligan is someone who has definitely had an interesting career trajectory in terms of her roles. Between “An Education,” “Shame,” and “Wildlife” each of these parts lets her enact a different emotionality. For someone like Cassie who has to navigate between being angry, socially awkward, funny, and incredibly smart, she’s spinning a lot of different plates. While it takes time to find out what her plan is, we know it’s something that is her driving force in the film. Mulligan layers both that mystery, charm, and determination in a way that's both entertaining and devastating in understanding what this character's outcome is. If she isn’t nominated for any sort of awards, it’s a true disservice to a brilliant actress showcasing her talents.
Surrounding her with such a varied cast of supporting characters creates an atmosphere of unpredictability that’s quite engaging. Bo Burnham, director of “Eighth Grade,” gets the biggest role of the bunch as Cassie’s possible new love interest Ryan. What makes a role like this so unique is exactly how his character’s arc progresses over the course of the film. Starting as a love interest ends up going down a path that truly had my jaw on the floor when the credits rolled. Amongst the rest of our supporting players include Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Molly Shannon, Christoper Mintz-Plasse, Alfred Molina, and Laverne Cox. For each of these actors, they get a rather limited amount of screen time. In their one to two scenes, they pack such a thrilling punch that they’re all memorable on their own merits.
“Promising Young Woman” is the best film I've seen this year besides being incredibly relevant. It’s the type of film that wants to make a statement on the horror’s that made the #MeToo culture, in a candy-coated noir package. I never knew where it was going next and would’ve never predicted the satisfying conclusion we ended up with. Having seen the film twice now, there’s no denying that I still cheered and pumped my fist even though I knew what to happen next. It’s fun, fresh, and wholly original and I just wish that more films could take the chances this one does. When you can, be sure to check this one out!
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i5kiFDunk8