Guilt, especially when combined with love, can be a powerful motivator. Carey Mulligan's Cassie is a woman trapped in the angst of not having been there for her childhood best friend, Nina, when a traumatic incident turned her life upside down. It has been 7 years, but she still feels strongly enough to take on the system that caused it, one person at a time.
Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman leaves a deep impression as we watch Cassie spend night after night in bars, drunk to the point of men taking her home to have their way with her, till she shrugs off the drunken charade, shocking them into questioning their morality. When destiny has her cross paths with an old schoolmate, she inadvertently finds herself closer to the wrongdoers.
Set in a post-Me Too world, this thrilling black comedy is a roller coaster ride that switches gears between intense emotions and movie genres so seamlessly and quickly that it leaves you breathless with the Director's capability. Fennell implicates every single person for what happened to Nina and demonstrates through Cassie's interactions with the others, including her own parents, how the world is unjustifiably tilted in favour of men and how a global movement has only gotten the conversation started. It has made people afraid of consequences, but only if they are caught. From rape, harassment, slander, victim-blaming, saying a woman was "asking for it", deeming a man's future worthier, to being complicit by being silent, Fennell's screenplay brings out instances of everyday sexism as casually as bumping into a stranger on a bus. It is there for everyone to see, but not everyone sees it.
The camera switches between closed frames and open spaces but is always able to portray Cassie's permanent state of feeling constricted. Special mention to the OST laden with songs of female pop divas who have been put on media trials for their life choices. Then we see this rich cast of actors play against their type to wow us.
If 80's Bollywood rape and revenge dramas ever got a facelift, Promising Young Woman is exactly how they would be.