A film that feels like a slap in the face, the punchy one Promising young woman is a colorful, spunky and reckless drama that goes in unpredictable directions and straight into the aorta. While the powerful third act isn’t nearly as mind-boggling as the excitement suggests, it’s one of the best that cinema has had in quite a while.
As the credits rolled in, my wife described Promising young woman as “one of those rare films that things get better over time”, a true statement, more or less. First-time director Emerald Fennell’s film is a type of film that pauses slightly in Act 2 but basically screams that things are going to turn for bad (or better, depending on how you look at it). at any time.
And they do.
While the second act actually loses some of its edge, Fennell makes up for that with one of the most satisfying vengeful highs of the year. It may not be at all what you expect it to be or what you hope it will be, but in hindsight, the bold, unlikely direction Fennell is headed has been talked about for years.
At the center of the film is the performance of Carey Mulligan, whose dark, calculating, unusual twist differs from any other performance this year. I didn’t even know you could do math and get out of whack at the same time, but Mulligan doesn’t seem to care what I know.
Between writing, directing, acting and transcendent soundtrack, there is a lot to love Promising young woman. It didn’t quite click together for me, or at least it didn’t quite match the hype, but maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe it’s supposed to be weird, uncomfortable, and unsettling. Maybe as a guy I should just let this promising young woman do her own thing and enjoy the moment.
Rating by Erik Samdahl, unless otherwise stated.