Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman (2020) Cover

I started watching Promising Young Woman with some pretty high expectations, but, while failing to live up to what I wanted, it still satisfies. Starting with a sharp premise, Promising Young Woman delivers a suspenseful revenge flick punched up by Carey Mulligan. This is one of those rare instances where a single actor carries the whole thing.

Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan) is working a job she hates while living with her parents in order to fuel a life of hunting down predatorial men. Driven by a past in which she was an ambitious, talented, and incredibly promising medical student whose career was wrecked by deeply personal tragedy, Cassandra goes to bars every evening where she pretends to be drunk beyond consent in order to attract those who would try to take advantage of her only to then reveal her true nature. As her crumbling life and endless taste for vengeance come to a head, Cassandra's past exposes an opportunity of a lifetime.

I promise that whatever you expect, Promising Young Woman will subvert it. It's an aggressive film that pulls its inspiration from a culture that has all too horribly failed to protect women from violent and sexual predation. If anything, what I hoped for was a deeper rebuke and more violent revenge flick. The antagonists are so deeply gross that I eagerly craved a much more visceral response to their actions. While what is here is enjoyable, I cannot help but imagine something far more fun.

Fortunately, Carey Mulligan's performance lifts the entire experience up. The way she dives into the character of Cassandra and her gleeful embrace of this dark tale of revenge makes up for a lot. There are other casting highlights that are a pure delight: Alfred Molina as a broken lawyer, Jennifer Coolidge as Cassandra's mother, and Clancy Brown as her father. Overall, the cast made up for a great deal of the disappointment I had with the plot.

If you're up for a delightful revenge flick where you get to just absolutely hate the antagonists, then Promising Young Woman will be a decent little escape where you'll get just a little taste for some catharsis. It won't satisfy, but maybe nothing really could satiate that kind of craving.

Final Verdict:Still worth your time despite not being entirely what was promised.