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A boldly provocative, timely thriller, Promising Young Woman is an auspicious feature debut for writer-director Emerald Fennell -- and a career highlight for Carey Mulligan. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Nothing in Cassie's life is what it appears to be -- she's wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she's living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs from the past.

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Critic Reviews for Promising Young Woman

All Critics (385) | Top Critics (69) | Fresh (348) | Rotten (37)

Audience Reviews for Promising Young Woman

  • Mar 20, 2021
    One of the best films in years, it's an extremely necessary and satisfying watch, featuring an Oscar-worthy turn from the incredible Carey Mulligan, confident and smooth directing, bold musical choices, and eye-popping art direction.
    Matthew S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 19, 2021
    I like that this is shot like a quirky modern horror film and I think this might be Mulligan's best performance. That said the ending is a little too neat and tidy for a movie that, until that point, was content to dwell in a lot of ambiguity.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 08, 2021
    From the opening second of Emerald Fennell's feature directorial debut that sears itself into your eardrums with Charli XCX's "Boys" it's abundantly clear we're in for a hell of a treat that is as pop-fueled and brightly colored as that introductory music track. Even as the music conjures images of pristine bodies dancing around pool parties that feature the color palette of a highlighter collection, Fennell immediately emasculates and disarms every male viewer that might already be dismissing her film by displaying what hapless, awkward grunts the majority of us look like when trying to appeal to the opposite sex in an alluring fashion. After immediately establishing the style in which she will relay her message Fennell's camera next wades in slow motion through a sea of nine to fivers scavenging for drinks that might hand them enough courage to approach vulnerable girls as the writer/director next establishes the key to Promising Young Woman: tone. Drawn from the anger of double standards and the (large amount of) satire contained in the line of thought that men could ever be more mature than women in any sense Fennell's screenplay - aided by a tour de force (and I don't use that phrase lightly) performance from Carey Mulligan - is as scathing as it is smart and as wild as it can be funny. It's almost contradictory how much there is to smile about while taking in the film given the serious nature of the topics being addressed, but Fennell finds such a satisfying way of conveying the revenge fantasy elements that it's next to impossible to not want to stand up and cheer every time Mulligan's Cassie leaves the room after delivering a gut punch of a one-liner to the creep she just taught a lesson. Fennell has style for days, obviously, along with what were probably notebooks full of stories about encounters she and her friends have had with men who seemed decent enough, but would still try to take advantage if the opportunity presented itself yet it is the way in which she is able to distill the daily indignities women routinely endure that ultimately reconciles the message with the mode. Promising Young Woman may be constructed to feel like an epic revenge fantasy and a sometimes sweet romantic comedy, but the situations depicted are unfortunately not as far-fetched as the calculated aesthetic would lead one to believe. To this extent, Fennell isn't interested in making a genre film as much as she is courting how cunning, meticulous, and self-aware one must be in order to exact revenge in the ways Cassie does here; she isn't trying to wipe the slate clean, she's looking to re-configure the establishment of that slate one piece at a time. In the immortal words of Paris Hilton, "That's hot" has never been more sincerely stated (or accurate) than when applied to Promising Young Woman. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com
    Philip P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2021
    Films that make a statement and are done very well tend to stick with me for a while. Whenever big things happen in the world, movies about those topics are usually not far off. Promising Young Woman is the prime example of a film that very much needed to be made in today's day in age, but I wasn't expecting it to take things as far as it did. I will absolutely be replaying this film in my head when looking back at my favourite films of 2020. Reflecting on how this film plays out, there are some viewers who will probably hate the outcome of the finale, but I thought it worked very well for the most part. Here's why I believe Promising Young Woman deserves all the praise it's receiving.  Haunted by her past, Cassandra (Carey Mulligan) makes it her mission to go after those who are unlucky enough to pop back into her life. For reasons I won't get into here, these people deserve to be in the spotlight, but this film almost plays out as a fantasy as to what should and shouldn't be done about this kind of scenario. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Mulligan's portrayal of Cassandra here, simply because her performance captivated me in ways I haven't seen in a while. She was both frightening and hilarious all at the same time. Her portrayal alone held my attention for the entire run time.  Take what I'm saying about her character with a grain of salt though because I'm not sure if I felt sympathy for any of the main characters by the end of the film. The way this film chooses to reach its climax felt a little messy to me. I appreciated the message and agreed with it overall, but the way the final moments played out just felt off to me and almost anti-climactic. Still, I found the rest of the movie to be pretty spectacular, so the conclusion was honestly a minor complaint to me.  Emerald Fennell both wrote and directed this film, and for a first feature film, I think she has made it very difficult to improve on her own work here. The statement she makes with this film, along with the razor-sharp subject matter, all tallied up to an incredible experience for me. I really liked the editing by Frédéric Thoraval as well, but I believe the cinematography by Benjamin Kracun was a big reason the editing looked so good as well. This is easily the biggest film he has filmed to date and I can't wait to see these framing skills continue.  In the end, Promising Young Woman briefly suffers from a conclusion that I'm still unsure about, but am otherwise utterly impressed by. From the second this film began to the moments that made it seem conventional at times, it does a great job in keeping you guessing. Certain aspects of this movie play out as you would expect, but I would check your expectations at the door in terms of where you think the character of Cassandra is going to end up. This movie sucked me in and didn't let me breathe until the credits rolled. Again, I can't say it's perfect due to the ending, but I otherwise think this is one of the finest and most eye-opening films released in 2020. Promising Young Woman is now available on-demand.
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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