Saturday, October 16

Promising Young Woman Review: A Deadly Dark Satire of Gender Politics | Films

This playfully provocative and witty satire of rape and revenge is about a society that thinks it would be a shame if the career of a promising young man were ruined by some alleged incident in which both parties were probably drunk.

Writer-director Emerald Fennell (TV showrunner for Killing Eve) lands a stiletto with her feature film debut, and Carey Mulligan is demurely brilliant as the appropriately named Cassandra. She is an emotionally wounded medical school dropout who lives at home with her parents and spends nights in clubs, pretending to be drunk to lure predatory men back to her place, each muttering. tender reassuring words. in the sense that he is a “good boy”. Cassandra has a surprise in store for these men. Fennell and Mulligan prove that she doesn’t need to draw a gun, she just needs to produce her cold sobriety at the right time, to change in exquisitely timed terror to an unflappable character asking these nice guys what they’re doing.

Of course, there could also be some other retribution, some off-camera punishment that the men will undergo in exchange for Cassandra leaving them unharmed, and she keeps a mysteriously color-coded scorecard in her childhood bedroom. It reminded me a bit of Takashi Miike’s Sub-Zero Horror Audition and yet also The Philadelphia Story, when Katharine Hepburn wakes up hungover and amnesiac after her drunken night with James Stewart, and he tells her it didn’t happen. nothing: “You were a little worse, or better, for wine. And there are rules about it.” There are?

Promising Young Woman has gained new notoriety for an apology that Variety magazine recently released for review. I have written about my disagreements with that review, but also about my belief in what I thought was obvious: the critic should be allowed to express an opinion. Should critics be allowed to comment on personal appearance in this way? Yes, and not simply because a great deal of effort goes into creating these images. The point here is that Cassie’s looks, and what men think is an appropriate way to treat her, is at the heart of her story and her toxic nightmare.

Cassie’s dangerous calling is there to make everyone in the audience uncomfortable indeed, to set off a seizure of outrage from #NotAllMen, to make her audience feel those dizzy scruples about cheating. And the nervous thought: wait, surely there are really nice guys out there, guys who just want to see that person safe at home, guys who now might have to leave that victim to their fate because they don’t want to risk it. looking like a predator, because of… well, because of this same movie?

This is part of Cassandra’s nihilistic malice. She is the vindictive dark that doesn’t care about justice, who may in fact induce her victim to attempt a nice-type sexual assault for the first time in her life. But she has revealed what was possible.

The story progresses in twists and turns and reversals; Mulligan is excellent at showing when Cassandra is in control and when she is not, and Anthony Willis’s ruthlessly effective musical score underscores both horror and sadness. (By the way, the movie sent me back to The Chilling Story of Kristen Roupenian The Good Guy.) Is a well-constructed and well-crafted script from Fennell, who appears in a cameo as a cosmetics YouTuber giving tutorials on how to achieve a lip blowjob. Mulligan has some great scenes, the most excruciating being when, for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious, he tries to tempt a teenage girl into his car. I was on the edge of my seat for this and so much more. The promise of fear is fulfilled.

Promising Young Woman premieres April 16 on Sky Cinema and Now.

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