Friday Film Review--"A Promising Young Woman"

Jan 3, 2021

 

Carey Mulligan stars as Cassandra in "A Promising Young Woman". She's incredibly beautiful and wicked smart, but the life she lives by day is not at all like the life she lives at night. Here's Barb Bretz with your holiday film review.

 

"A Promising Young Woman" is the writing/directing debut for Emerald Fennell. Her involvement in the second season of the BBC-America thriller series "Killing Eve" earned her 2 Prime-Time Emmy Award nominations.

 

Fennel wrote the script several years ago, but feels the theme of abuse and revenge propelling the story have been talked about by women for centuries. I'm not a fan of horror or slasher films, so it bothers me that posters I've seen for this film give that impression.

 

The director calls it a dark, comedy thriller”; with that, I agree. She deftly doles out puzzle pieces of Cassie's past revealing the back story and why strategic revenge has become her mission. I call it "Fatal Attraction" in the age of the Me Too Movement.

 

The deeply talented cast is led by Carey Mulligan who plays Cassie, a beautiful and brilliant former medical student whose life has been derailed by a single incident from which she has yet to recover.

 

Bo Burnham, her co-star, is an actor, a stand-up comedian and the writer/director of the charming 2018 Sundance award-winning drama, "Eighth Grade".

 

He plays Ryan, a former classmate from medical school, who randomly reappears in Cassie's life. He's cute, kind, funny and deeply attracted to her. The chemistry between them is delightful. I felt maybe Ryan will be just the inspiration Cassie needs to let go of her dark past and look to a brighter future. Boy, was I wrong!

 

The director says the film is difficult to talk about. She's right but not due to the subject matter. The unpredictable elements of the story need to remain a mystery until they unfold on the screen. Everyone including me, sat on the edge of our seats throughout the film. Several times, I breathed a sigh of relief thinking I'd watched the final scene only to be jerked back into the story by another unexpected twist or turn.

 

Set design is masterful. Cassie's parents' home and the cafe where she works are Disneyesque; pleasant color schemes and perfection in decor. Both add to the mystique of Cassie's life NOT being at all as it appears on the surface.

 

"A Promising Young Woman" is rated R and runs 1 hour and 53 romantic and revengeful minutes. This is Barb Bretz with your Friday Film Review.