As a medical school dropout spiralling between grief, rage and revenge, Mulligan takes Emerald Fennell’s stylish if oddly dated Oscar contender to the next level
It’s stingingly timely material. Thematically, Emerald Fennell’s feature debut, Promising Young Woman, could have been distilled from pure pain, an amalgamation of the countless rape culture testimonies on sites such as Everyone’s Invited. But tonally, with its extravagantly arched eyebrow and lacquered manicure of irony, this film feels oddly dated – a couple of decades out of step with current sensibilities. Were it not for Carey Mulligan’s Cassandra, an avenging angel in bubblegum-pink lip gloss, the picture may well have toppled off its stripper heels long before it got to stomp into its divisive shocker of a final act. Mulligan’s withering disdain is a thing of beauty. If anyone wins prizes for this liberally and generously nominated film – it has five Oscar nods, including best picture and best director, and scored six Bafta nominations, winning two – it should be her.
And for a while at least, the writing matches the quality of her performance. The film’s opening is a DayGlo blast of righteous catharsis. We meet Cassie blurry with booze, slumped across a banquette in the kind of bar where the alpha-bro afterwork crew go to toast themselves. She’s a beautiful wreck, the skirt of her business suit bunched up, hair and life unravelling. Three brash guys eye her hungrily, but it’s the most seemingly decent of them (Adam Brody) who approaches, with the offer to see her home safely. But danger comes in all shapes and sizes, and the next thing we know, the “nice guy” is plying her with emetic-pink kumquat liqueur and manhandling her on to his bed.Continue reading...
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