I’ve not done a film review before – I hadn’t really thought that it was my thing. But this afternoon I indulged myself in a film that I’ve been meaning to watch for for quite a while now, but just never got around to – That film was ‘Promising Young Woman’ written and directed by Emerald Fennell.
Please don’t worry – there are no big spoilers in this review, at least none that aren’t glaringly obvious from the trailer ( found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i5kiFDunk8 ). If you’re worried, watch the film and then come back to me.
I worry slightly that this is quite a heavy film for my first review, after all the ending is absolutely insane, but actually that’s a pretty good reason to write about it.
“Every week, I go to a club. I act like I’m too drunk to stand, and every week a nice guy comes over to see if I’m okay.”
Following dropping out of med school due to ‘unusual circumstances’, Cassie appears to be on a vigilante revenge streak where she dangles herself as drunken, defenseless bait in nightclubs and waits to see if any ‘nice guys’ take the bait. Awfully, she seems to be getting a rather high hit rate according to her inexplicably multicoloured tally that she keeps under her bed. It’s rather unclear what her goal is – whether she simply humiliates the men, whether she’s seeking to teach them that they really aren’t all that nice in order to save a future woman from their special type of ‘help’, or whether sometimes things get a little nastier off screen. There’s a rather suggestive bit at the beginning of the film hinting to a slightly more debateable style of revenge.
Cassie herself is not okay – several reviews I read described her as a sociopath, and honestly I was not particularly comfortable with several of the choices she made as the film progressed. She starts off very single minded, with a brief time where she appears to be claiming her life back in the middle, before the train really comes steaming off the tracks.
Would I recommend this film? That depends what you’re looking for in a film I suppose. As the film got nearer the end I could not take my eyes off the screen, my heart was in my throat and my mind was racing trying to keep up with where this was going next. If that interests you then yes, watch it.
I did not see the ending coming – it was a complete curveball. If you like being surprised, then yes, watch it.
It was morally debateable – both the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ did stuff that I really was not okay with and made me ask some really uncomfortable questions about how society responds to those ‘he said, she said’ scenarios. I’m trying to convince a friend of mine to watch this film as we speak so that I have someone to talk to about it (because OMG). If you like a good conversation starter, then absolutely watch it. It’s thought provoking and controversial and very relevant. If you are just looking for straight up entertainment then maybe it’s less for you?
I read an interview with the director/ writer where they discussed how the film verges on a horror film – I’ll let you decide that for yourself after you’ve seen it. It’s very raw, and Cassie hits those she visits with such blunt force of reasoning and at times ‘persuasion’ that you feel yourself recoiling from the screen at the same time as leaning forwards in horrified anticipation. The film hits many nerves, and has been very powerfully portrayed by all involved. I feel like I need a hat so that I can take it off for them.