Promising Young Woman is twisted cinematic eye candy.

Cassie%27s+namesake%2C+the+Greek+myth+of+Cassandra%2C+was+often+known+for+being+able+to+see+things+without+being+able+to+act+on+them%2C+similar+to+how+Cassie+feels+about+what+happened+to+Nina.

Benjamin Kračun

Cassie’s namesake, the Greek myth of Cassandra, was often known for being able to see things without being able to act on them, similar to how Cassie feels about what happened to Nina.

Sophia Prichard, Jr. Editor

Warning: This article discusses actions portrayed in the film such as rape, sexual assault, manipulation, and other traumatic subject matter. The staff of Le Petit Colonel does not condone actions, and if you find this subject matter triggering, please do not read for your own safety. 

 

Promising Young Woman is a graphic psychological nightmare, twisting the revenge genre as a whole, a masterpiece of scriptwriting and a candy-coated story of dark and twisted nature. The cast is full of comedic personalities, deeply contrasting the nature of the story. 

Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) plays Cassie, a distraught college dropout, still reeling from the tragedy of her late best friend’s traumatic experience that lead to her death. Cassie feels like she owes it to her friend, Nina, to change people’s minds, and so she goes to clubs, pretends to be so drunk she can’t help herself, and then when someone tries to take advantage of her, she makes it known that she isn’t drunk, before pointing their own behavior out to them, helping them realize they aren’t the “good guy” they thought they were. 

However her trajectory changes after meeting an old classmate, Ryan, from med school, and being reminded of the man who raped Nina. From then on it’s obvious that unlike in the ordinary revenge flick, Promising Young Woman makes Cassie flawed, she isn’t a superhero action star, the film is aware of how overpowered Cassie is. And her own revenge is taking a toll on her, too. 

The true genius of the film is it’s tone, while uneven and difficult to follow at times, it creates an awareness that the viewer has toward Cassie’s predicament. We can understand how she feels, all through the help of the tone, accurately letting us in on her emotions and her own understanding of the situation. The casting almost allows for comfort, seeing actors we know from comedy films and “safer” tv shows, but then flips it. These “nice guys” of comedy look just like normal people, and that’s what’s amazing about it, because rapists look just like normal people too. The score also allows us into the bubblegum aesthetic of the film, opting for girl pop anthems like CharliXCX and Britney Spears, yet it’s twisted into a dark and sinister emotional depth. 

The set design also creates a pop-y candy aesthetic, with pinks and blues, pastels and cushions, multiple times throughout the film it lulls you into a feeling of safety, just to snatch the rug out from under your feet. The graphic violence and pain contrast against the beauty of the film, creating an arthouse masterpiece. The direction manipulates the audience into a false sense of security, and it’s absolutely breathtaking.