Promising Young Woman: Another Review. By Nick Boyd.
“Promising Young Woman,” a provocative and uncompromising dark drama, stars Carey Mulligan in a fearless and haunting performance as Cassie, a 30-year-old medical school dropout, who works at a coffee shop and lives with her parents. At night, though, Cassie goes to bars pretending to be really drunk, so she can turn the tables on less than scrupulous men who think they can take advantage of her at their place. As the multilayered narrative unravels, we learn Cassie’s motivation for doing this, which stems from an incident in her past.
One day, a former classmate of Cassie’s named Ryan (played by Bo Burnham) stops by her coffee shop with the intention of trying to go on a casual date with her. A sweet romance develops between the two of them as Ryan’s awkward, likeable personality is able to win Cassie over, a refreshing change of pace from the shallow guys she encounters at the bar. Ryan is a pediatric doctor and remarks that Cassie (had she not dropped out of medical school) would have made a great doctor.
Cassie’s ultimate ruthless mission throughout the film is to try to right the wrong from her past and that involves meeting with people she feels played a part in the incident that took place. She puts forth a no-nonsense attitude in these meetings expecting some kind of remorse or accountability.
The editing and cinematography effectively conveys the mood of the film and Cassie’s state of mind. The writing, with its insights and cleverness, really shines for the most part.
Some elements in the picture I found did not work. When Ryan is singing in the pharmacy, I thought it came across as overly cheesy and somewhat takes you out of the movie the way it was done. When Cassie takes a crowbar to a random guy’s truck on the road, it did not make sense why she would have done that.
The last part of the film, which will not be revealed, is about as harrowing as they come, and is sure to be a conversation starter about female revenge.
The twists and turns will keep you guessing in a movie with a lot on its mind, particularly ethics and gender. By no means an easy watch, the film nonetheless takes you on a wild, exhilarating ride that leaves a lasting impression.
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