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Snake Eric

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman (2020)  

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Absolutely loved this, Emerald Fennell juggles the different tones perfectly, going from comedy to romance and thriller (and not necessarily in that order) without it ever feeling jarring, and it’s a gorgeously colourful film too. Carey Mulligan is practically unrecognisable and Bo Burnham isn’t getting anywhere near as much attention as he deserves for his part. I am kind of surprised to see the film getting awards talk though, not because it doesn’t deserve awards, but because this type of film isn’t what Oscar voters tend to gravitate towards.

 

Avoid spoilers like the plague though, going into this blind without even seeing the trailer was a hell of a ride. The ending is just *chefs kiss*.

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From its first scene to its last, Promising Young Woman is a blistering and captivating viewing experience that takes many huge swings and connects on just about all of them. As an examination of trauma and rape culture filtered through a deceptively candy-coated lens, it succeeds in sinking its claws into viewers and venturing into daring territory with gusto. Writer-director Emerald Fennell maintains a strong handle over her film’s many tonal shifts and does a terrific job of pulling audiences into its troubled protagonist’s headspace; under Fennell’s direction, protagonist Cassie’s drive to exact humiliation and punishment against “nice guys” feels real and understandable, though she also leaves plenty of room for viewers to consider how Cassie’s actions reflect her brokenness and lack of healthy ways to confront her past trauma. The aesthetic decisions succeed in luring viewers in and making a lurid, exploitative concept feel more conventionally palatable – a solid match for how Cassie’s artificial self-presentation allows her to ensnare her targets. As good as the first half of the film is, it really picks up steam as it shifts gears into a more revenge-driven focus, and the last half-hour – while bound to be divisive – is tense and unnerving enough that some viewers (like this one) will undoubtedly watch parts of it from between their fingers, and it makes the most of a few gutsy surprises. In the lead role, Carey Mulligan delivers a new career best performance. As much as I love her prior work in An Education and Shame, Mulligan is even more dynamic and arresting in this film. The ways in which she portrays the shift between Cassie’s faux drunkenness and terrifying lucidity are striking, and she expertly contrasts this excitement and precision of purpose with the flatness and lack of direction in the rest of Cassie’s life. Mulligan’s work is incredibly committed in every single scene, and she commands the viewer’s attention in even the most uncomfortable moments of the film. The cast around Mulligan is also in fine form, with the standout supporting performance coming from a charming Bo Burnham, who takes what could easily have just been a writer’s device – an *actual* nice guy whose genuine affection for Cassie puts her in an unfamiliar situation – and makes the character and his relationship with Mulligan’s Cassie feel well-realized. As alluded to before, the ending is likely to divide viewers, but I found it to be a fitting and worthy conclusion that fits nicely with the themes the film develops and still succeeds in hitting the different tones the film takes on over the course of its running time. With its tremendous lead performance, terrific construction and direction, and success in jamming the knife in its viewers and twisting it around, Promising Young Woman is one of the most singular and memorable releases of the past year.

 

A-

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Not as crazy about this as a lot of people are, as some of the tone shifts are a bit jarring at times, but this is definitely a well-made thriller that is very timely and offers a fresh take on the revenge tale. This is easily the best role Carey Mulligan has played since her breakout in An Education, as she makes Cassandra a force of nature you don't want to be caught in the crosshairs of. She's surrounded by an excellent ensemble cast in which even the small roles are played by notable actors, with Bo "Eighth Grade" Burnham being the standout. An intriguing feature debut from Emerald Fennell that makes one look forward to her future movies. B+

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This movie tries to paint a broad yet lazily stereotypical image of most males out there. Realistically it seems like it was made/written by someone with zero experience on the matter but being the flavour of the month, it's managed to somehow bargain its way to the oscars. Most of the dialogue used by the men is too on the nose to be taken seriously

 

Careys acting was really good and at times this is an entertaining love story with tragic twists but the level of virtue signalling to gain awards is unforgivable here. No wonder the Oscars are losing its viewers when our intelligence is tested this far.

 

B-

 

 

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Basically PYW is a green book about rape culture. Overall it is a crowd-pleasing, feel-good drama that mostly failed to tackle the rape culture thoughtfully and sensitively with almost zero character arc and development. The ending did save some ground as I find myself was actually connected to or at least care about protagonist and her could-be-wonderful life.  

 

Overall 7.5/10, and there were few scenes that I find Carey's acting was a bit off and unsatisfying especially the scene when she found out her bf was a bystander too during the incident.  

 

  

Edited by titanic2187
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