PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN review by Ronnie Malik – Carey Mulligan gets even with bad men

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN review by Ronnie Malik – Carey Mulligan gets even with bad men

Director: Emerald Fennell

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Adam Brody, Ray Nicholson, Sam Richardson, Timothy E. Goodwin, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Alli Hart, Loren Paul, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Gabriel Oliva, Bryan Lillis, Francisca Estevez, Lorna Scott, Connie, Britton, Casey Adams, Vince Lozano, Molly Shannon, Max Greenfield, Chris Lowell, Mike Horton, Steve Monroe, Angela Zhou, Talynn Carpenter, Laverne Cox

Rating: B+

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN follows the story of Cassie (Carey Mulligan) a 30 year old med school dropout who lives with her parents, spends her days working as a barista, and has no patience for the dead- end occupation she is stuck doing. At first it seems like Cassie is an angry loser with no purpose until we discover that to keep her life interesting she actually is on a mission for social change and justice. As it turns out, Cassie goes to great lengths to teach men lessons on how not to behave. She spends her nights pretending to be a defenseless hopeless drunk that can’t peel herself off the nightclub floor and get herself home. The purpose is to see if any guy who offers to take her home “safely” is a true gentleman or one of those nasty boys that need to be taught a lesson on how not to take advantage of a lady. She is able to dupe men into thinking they are going to score with a defenseless woman until she offers up the big reveal and literally scares the crap out of the sexual predators. It is her ultimate game of teaching members of the opposite sex that it is not okay to cross the line and then justify the behavior as nothing harmless.

We soon discover that Cassie is motivated by a traumatic event that happened to Nina, her longtime friend and fellow classmate. The incident Nina experienced was swept under the rug by those that could help her which sets off a tragic chain of events. Feeling helpless that she could not do anything to help Nina, Cassie sets out on her own quest to seek justice for her childhood BFF. One day Ryan, another former med school friend, bumps into Cassie and the pair find themselves moving to a stage beyond friendship. Cassie is pleasantly surprised to see how much she enjoys being around Ryan and finds herself finally being able to let her guard down because she is falling in-love with one of the good guys.

The random reconnecting to people from her past doesn’t stop with Ryan. Cassie also runs into Madison (Alison Brie), another former classmate who married rich and seems to have it all and is a woman who doesn’t recognize the horrors of sexual abuse and the lingering effects on its victims. This prompts Cassie to set the wheels in motion to school Madison in how feels to be put in a vulnerable position. Cassie also takes it upon herself to confront the dean of the medical college (Connie Britton) by bringing her worst fears about her young daughter to life. The dean who ignored complaints of sexual misconduct by Nina was an accomplice in the young woman’s unraveling. Soon Cassie also discovers a vile video tape of the perpetrators involved in Nina’s awful event and once she identifies the main culprit Cassie plots an elaborate scheme to finally get justice for her friend.

Filled with dark twisted humor, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN delivers a strong message about male privilege in society and the skewed dynamics between men and women. Carey Mulligan pretty much carries the film as she gives a strong performance of a woman suffering from grief that prompts her to change the course of her life. Mulligan delivers her lines beautifully with dry wit that makes you laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time while playing a woman whose sadness is ruling over her emotional well-being. The film digs deep to explore out dated perceptions of women and the lack of empathy towards victims of sexual assault. The movie is extremely direct in pointing out how men are often let off the hook and those suffering from trauma are not victims once but twice when their voices go unheard.

A film that starts off on a funny note about a quirky 30 year old college dropout turns into a serious gritty deep film about an issue many people still don’t like to talk about. Often unsettling, this first film debut from director Emerald Fennell is bold, raw, and direct as is it delivers a powerful message and draws attention to an issue that must be addressed by our society in order to stop sexual violence once and for all.

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN opens December 25th, 2020 – Christmas Day

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