Studio: Focus Features
Action speaks louder than words in Promising Young Woman
Promising Young Woman is a darker, comedy thriller for anyone who has enjoyed comedy and thriller films altogether. As a director, producer, and writer for the film, Promising Young Woman serves as Fennell’s directorial debut in her career. Before that, she was an English actress who had minor roles in The Danish Girl (starring Eddie Redmayne) and Vita and Virginia (with Elizabeth Debicki in it). The film features the ensemble cast of Carey Mulligan in her leading role along with Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton in their supportive roles.
Promising Young Woman centers on a young woman named Cassie Thomas who, after being traumatized by a tragic event in her past and finding out about the murdering of her close friend Nina, plans to seek vengeance against those who have wronged her and cross her path.
The characters in Promising Young Woman are very likable and intriguing. That’s one reason how this film works. Carey Mulligan (Pride and Prejustice, 2013’s The Great Gatsby) portrays a young, rebellious woman named Cassie who works at the coffee shop with actor Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) joins Mulligan's side as Ryan Cooper, the doctor and her former classmate. And actress Laverne Cox who aides with Mulligan as Gail.
The supportive cast consist of Alison Brie (BoJack Horseman) as Madison, Chris Lowell (CW’s Veronica Mars) as Al Monroe, the futurely wedded man who is responsible for murdering Nina, Cassie’s closest friend, but rarely unseen character, and Clancy Brown (Spongebob Squarepants) and Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie films, Legally Blonde) both appear together onscreen as Cassie’s parents. And lastly, Connie Britton (Spin City) is seen in the film as Dean Walker.
The film and its key plotlines are similar to 2018’s A Simple Favor, another dark comedy-thrilling flick, directed by Paul Feig. It felt like, as director, Fennell wanted to take it the hard way after taking inspiration from that said film and, of course, the #MeToo movement where people, including celebrities, let out their voices on their toxic work environments and publicize allegations of sex crimes committed by powerful and/or prominent men. The film A Simple Favor and the #MeToo movements are the primary dynamics to the film and the Mulligan’s character entirely. There was also another dark, thriller film called I’m Your Woman, which was released in the same year, featuring the main-leading star of Rachel Brosnahan with a similar concept of this film but with family crisis being added.
The storyline threads and tales are in abundance here, the same applies to the chemistry performances between Mulligan and Burnham’s character being shared onscreen to that rapport. The director wants to fulfill this scenery between them in order to make this film more appealing to the audiences. The direction in every scene and climax from Fennell herself and the main focus of the performance coming from Carey Mulligan really shines the actors, the viewers and critics with a powerful glee. Also, just to let the viewers know that actress Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad) serves as one of the producers for this film. And let’s not forget about the screenplay from Fennell, her screenplay is what really makes the film pleasant to enjoy for those Oscar-contending attention getters.
Also appearing in the film are Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) as Jordan, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy) as Neil, Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars, Fox’s New Girl) as Joe, and Molly Shannon (Jim Carrey’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas!) as Mrs. Fisher.
With the promising delightful treat being offered from the director, Mulligan, and the crew, Promising Young Woman is certainly one of the greatest films I ever watched. It clocks in about nearly two hours. I honestly don’t care what the critics or audiences say about this film, I still think it’s a great film to watch even though some parts of the film are hard to follow. I would pay high respects to Fennell and Mulligan in their capable best of their abilities. The film may stand a chance of garnering some nominations for Oscars’ Best Picture, Best Director for Fennell, Best Actress for Mulligan, and Screenplay. I’m not sure how it goes, but I can totally dig it for some Oscar recommendations. With that, Promising Young Woman leaves the moviegoers with a touching message, a satisfied palate on their hands, and a positive smile galore.
(Review by Henry Pham)