Emerald Fennell writes and directs this marvelous rollercoaster ride and doesn’t let us off
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020)
The time has come, my friends. The long awaited female rage thriller is finally here! There’s so much I need to say about this film, so this is my best attempt at doing so without spoiling.
In her feature debut, Emerald Fennell writes and directs this marvelous rollercoaster ride and doesn’t let us off. There is a bit of a lull in the middle of the 2 hour time frame, but it never takes away from what the film is trying to accomplish. If you’re a woman who exists, there will be many subtleties that you will pick up on without the film ever shining a spotlight on them. On the other hand, there are many things the film is saying loud and proud.
Twenty something Cassie was a college student on the road to success when a personal tragedy completely set her back. Now living with her parents, she works at a coffee shop with a little side project to fill her time. When a figure from her past shows up, she revisits her trauma to seek out some long overdue revenge.
The story focuses on the inner workings of being a woman while telling the tale of one so determined to get people to see what she sees, no matter what it takes. It’s so ruthlessly honest that it allows the film to take its time when it needs to. Like I said before, there are many things folks just won’t pick up on if they haven’t been in certain situations. It’s woven into the dialogue and character action that these might not always feel like part of the plot, but it all culminates into one big mural of shared experience. This story is important to tell because it doesn’t dwell on the worry of being “too much.” It’s laid out for you to either accept it or not.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Carrie Mulligan is a force to be reckoned with. She’s always great in everything I’ve seen her in, but she does something different here. She makes Cassie lovable, unbearable at times, and terrifying all in one film. This wildly dynamic character is treated with tender care. There is nothing about her performance that feels like it’s holding anything back. The way she comes at every scene with originality and charm glued my eyes to the screen. She is constantly intriguing.
Bo Burnham was a delightful surprise. I know he’s funny, but I wasn’t expecting such a strong performance if I’m going to be honest. They could have cast any Joe Shmoe for this role, but they chose someone who can hold humor in a scene and win the audience over as he matches Cassie’s wit and charm.
It should be noted that the entire cast was a solid 10/10. There are so many notable faces including Laverne Cox, Allison Brie, and Connie Britton just to name a few.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The cinematography is beautiful, packed full of pretty neon lighting and colors, along with detailed composition. My favorite set dressing is the coffee shop Cassie works in. The aqua blue/red/pink combo is personally my favorite color scheme at the moment, so it felt like a dream scape. I also really like Cassie’s parent’s house. It’s like stepping into the nineties, as you sorta question the time of the film for a moment.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
A subtle yet cut throat score crafted perfectly for a thriller like this. It balances between edge-of-your-seat tracks and lulled moments that lead the story along. There are some brilliant choices of soundtrack picks that include a fitting cover by DeathbyRomy of The Weather Girls’ 80s hit “It’s Raining Men.”
Long story short, this is my favorite film of 2020. I know many people were bummed about its push back in April, but I promise you it was worth the wait. No doubt this film will be talked about for years to come. Promising Young Woman comes out December 25th in the United States.
Focus Features will release PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN in theaters -December 25th, 2020.