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Promising Young Woman (2020)


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This title is picking up steam in my various feeds...Letterboxd, etc. 

I don't know quite what to make of it. Mulligan is swell, but I can't quite shake the feeling that it is designed to provoke rather than prod. Early this year, I was on the minority end of The Invisible Man, dismissing the film as a prettified "let's beat up women" flick in the guise of "isn't it horrible how women get beat up?" flick.

This strikes me more as an Alan Ball type project -- more interested in how often it can shift your allegiances (and scold you for being wrong) than in actually talking a position. Even Fatal Attraction had a sort of consistency about it. This feels like the kind of stuff we cheer in movies because we know it isn't real with ideas we'd reject if they were presented in non-narrative form.

 

But...what do I know? There seems to be a cadre of admirers that see something I've yet to catch a glimpse of.

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I saw Scott Renshaw and Walter Chaw discussing on Twitter how much they did not care for this, which was in response to it winning best actress, and specifically best screenplay from the LA Critics' awards.

The trailer intrigued me and I'm looking forward to it, but I have no idea where I'll fall on it.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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I didn't care for this either.  It felt too glib and simplistic, rather than offering any substance in its examination of toxic masculinity and the enabling of sexual trauma.  It didn't surprise me that this is from one of the creators of Killing Eve, as it has that same "aren't we dark and edgy?" smugness to it.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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With a few reservations, I was surprised to find I overall liked this quite a bit. I thought it was a great example of using implication to make us really feel the horror and put the viewer in the position of people who only have the word of survivors to believe. As to the ending, the lack of catharsis seems to be a deliberate choice on the part of Fennell, and while it means I would certainly never recommend this to an assault survivor or almost anyone for that matter, it's not a choice I'm inclined to fault her for, as it was the final damning indictment of rape culture and a tragic commentary on how revenge turns out for anyone with less power than their perpetrator.

Fennell's directing is fantastic (her script writing less so, so naturally she'll probably win the Oscar for that). The "shocking" twist is so predictable that it's hard to believe Cassie didn't know it or think to inquire about it, but otherwise the rest of the filmmaking is really solid. And Mulligan certainly deserves the nominations she's getting.

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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