PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020) – A Carey Mulligan tour de force


Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Happy New Year everyone. This is my first movie review for 2021 and what a way to kick off the new year! Promising Young Woman may start off like a comedy but it soon becomes something much more serious. This is a feminist tale about how the ugly consequences of frequently practised casual random acts of sexual acts on young women in America can get carried away.

British actress Carey Mulligan plays a young American medical student drop out who carries a heavy burden from a tragic act that happened to her best friend during their college years. The incident had somehow affected her mental state of mind years on, as she is seen and introduced to us preying on unsuspecting men in bars to teach them a lesson or two about non-consensual sex. Carey’s character Cassandra, is a complex one as we gradually uncovers her past and what is motivating her bizarre actions and decisions in life. Along the way we live through her ups and downs and get emotionally involved as her character gets slowly drawn into the inevitable wrong directions. It is a path we as viewers will find hard to follow and watch as it climax in a shocking and highly charged final act.

To be honest, Promising Young Woman was not an easy watch as its dark subject matter is not something that will make you feel good. However, it is a highly crafted piece of work that is never pretentious and keeps its story focus and at a personal level. A lot of this is thanks to an amazing performance by the always great Carey Mulligan who carried the movie through almost its entire length. Not surprisingly this was written and directed by a woman. Emerald Fennell is also British and is perhaps best known as the actress who plays Camilla Parker Bowles in British TV series The Crown. Perhaps less known is that she was also involved with the writing of another successful TV series, Killing Eve. With Promising Young Woman I believe Emerald Fennell has succeeded in establishing herself as just that in the film industry!

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