In recent years, the #Metoo movement has revolutionised the discourse regarding consent and sexual harassment on the internet. "Promising Young Woman," immaculately taps into this issue to nudge its audiences into actualising the harsh reality faced by each and every woman.
Watch the trailer of "Promising Young Woman" here
Released on January 25, "Promising Young Woman" is the debut film of director Emerald Fennell. She has earned a name in this industry as an actress, screen-writer, director. Her sharp, bold and clever writing and directing skills hid the fact that it's her first work as a director.
This movie belongs to the revenge/thriller genre but with a hint of dark comedy. In the film the dark concepts of life are portrayed with a mask of humour.
The highlight among the entire cast is Carry Mulligan, who plays Cassandra. She is one of the most promising actors of recent times. Her performance as the coffee shop worker who leaves medical school for the sake of an event that happened to her closest friend will leave all in awe. In short, she is the perfect confident actor to play this role.
The movie starts with a drunk girl (Carry Mulligan) behaving tipsy in the bar at night where a guy- who appears as nothing but a gentleman- tries to approach her to get the advantage of her. Then, surprisingly we find that the drunk girl named Cassie was actually never drunk. She leads a double life where she works in a coffee shop in the morning and by night she acts like a drunk vigilante who is offering lessons to those so-called "gentlemen" who don't value the word "consent".
Cassie or Cassandra Thomas is a 31-year-old woman who still lives with her parents. Her parents are frustrated with her sociopathic behaviour but they understand the context as well. When Cassie was in medical school her constant companion was Nina Fisher who was a topper in the class.
Unfortunately, during a party where Nina was alcohol-soaked, few of her classmates did something which is every woman's nightmare. She was raped and humiliated by her mates when she had no sense of reality. Eventually, she dropped out and took her life to escape from this sorrow.
This incident of the society protecting criminals over the victims compels Cassie to lead her double life where she seeks justice for her friend by teaching those men lessons for life. In her adventurous journey, she might hurt some men and leaves some men with fear by her gritty behaviour.
Her target was to dismantle the structure where patriarchal behaviour is normalised. The use of dark humour to induce the knowledge of a serious issue serves a cherry on the top throughout the film.
This movie is divided into five sections. Every section of this movie showcases a contrast of gritty dark tone with candy-themed feminine backdrops. The use of modern pop songs in different scenes is top notch. Throughout the movie, the director doesn't let us forget that Cassie is a troublesome and traumatised girl.
In one section, it showcases that Cassie finally started to feel romantic towards an old classmate called Ryan (Bo Burnham). They do silly things that couples in love do, like singing Paris Hilton's song in a grocery store, spending a lot of time together etc. Moreover, Ryan meets with her parents as well.
This change presents a different version of Cassie where she finally lets her guards down. Surely, this movie depicts the word 'mood swings' in an interesting manner showing different emotional arcs of Cassie.
Alas! This sweet romantic journey comes to an end when Cassie finds out a cruel truth about Ryan. As a result, she leaves Ryan with a bigger plan to encounter soon.
In different scenes of this movie, the male characters defend their crimes by saying things like "I was just a child," "I'm a gentleman," "I never did anything wrong," intending to stay safe in their patriarchal bubble.
But Cassie indeed pops the bubble every time with her unique and savage ways.
Towards the end of the movie, Cassie is seen as a stripper, going to the bachelorette party of that man who sexually assaulted Nina. The instrumental version of Brittney Spears song "Toxic" took this scene to another level. The amalgamation of melancholy, revenge and audacity of the last scene is stunningly shown. The twist will divide the audience but surely will flip anyone's mind.
Cassie's dedication to destroy the system which criminalizes victims is praiseworthy, no matter what level she reached to prove that. If you want to experience a mind-boggling storyline with Carry Mulligan's splendid acting give it a watch. Decide yourself if the astute ending was controversial to you or legit by all means.
The film is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.