Promising Young Woman, 2020 – ★★★★★

Hands down the best film of 2020! In day-glo & bubble gum colors, the film is a piece of art from beginning to end. Carey Mulligan delivers a flawless performance sliding between fury, pain, hope, and regret, and is truly chilling when she switches modes on the abusive men who’ve taken her home. The supporting cast is wonderful, including great performances from Bo Burnham, Laverne Cox, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Alfred Molina, & Allison Brie. At times the film is Hitchcockian, especially in its score. It calls to mind the revenge films of the past, and takes us down a journey of feeling complicit for those. Where as much of those revenge films were devoted to portraying the rape and violence that sets the plot in motion, Promising Young Woman has the violence occur offscreen and before the film began. The lurid male gaze that popularized the genre from I Spit on Your Grave forward, is weaponized here, daring us to leer at Mulligan in her various “sexy” outfits, showing that we are all responsible for the rape culture it depicts. 

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, this film is the powerful antithesis of Joker and its ilk that show men in worlds built for them losing hope of their place, instead Cassie is outside the world from the beginning, and the tragedy is in her attempts to return. 

Absolutely brilliant, beautiful, cathartic, horrifying, sexy, funny, and tragic. This film will stick with you for a LONG time.

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