Promising Young Woman Lays the Gauntlet for Culpability

Emerald Fennell’s debut feature film is a dark comedy-thriller about women’s rage and the culture that continues to pat it on the head.

Carey Mulligan as Cassandra “Cassie” Thomas. (via YouTube)
When you quit med school, but think you wanna “get back into it.” (via YouTube)

More than revenge, Promising Young Woman pursues accountability on a personal and systemic level.

The only part of this film that didn’t always land right with me was the music. The score was solid — all growling, aching strings for appropriate thrills and prolonged dread — it’s the song choices that were hit or miss. I cackled at the opening sequence, which is a two-faced jab at objectification: it’s a hip-level music video-esque montage of dudes in belted khakis dancing at a club, set to the DROELOE remix of Charlie XCX’s “Boys.” Elsewhere, some of the other pop/trap tunes took me out of the vibes of the film a bit. Loved the wicked cover of “It’s Raining Men,” and I’ll never say no to a good strings cover like “Toxic.” (Let’s everyone say a quick thanks to Jordan Peele, who’s arguably the patron saint of using creepy strings covers in film.)

Pop culture fiend. Art + design enthusiast. Self-proclaimed expert playlist maker. Perpetual word nerd and advice dispenser. Five cents, please.

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