Film Review: Promising Young Woman

SNACK at The Glasgow Film Festival 2020

Promising Young Woman

The much-anticipated surprise film of this year’s festival delivered an unforgettable choice in debut director Emerald Fennell’s stylish, incendiary thriller that puts a twist on the well-worn rape-revenge genre for the Me Too era.

Carey Mulligan is on top form as Cassandra, a 30-year-old medical school dropout who still lives with her parents and now works in a quirky coffee shop. But her nightlife activities paint a different story: she goes to clubs and pretends to be so drunk she can hardly stand, in an effort to lure in men who take advantage and teach them a lesson. From the opening scene the film creates a kind of self-aware tension that positively cloaks the narrative.  It delights in constantly wrong-footing you with where it seems to be going, or even how the shrewd central character will act from one moment to the next. Mulligan is stunningly good at portraying that ambiguity, making her feel more than just a caricature of the avenging angel archetype. Her performance powers a film that’s as slyly-hilarious as it is unsettling with its provocative take on real-world empowerment.

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