Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★

Felt to me like a distillation of modern rape culture politics rather than a portrayal of actual human beings attempting to navigate the real world within which those politics manifest. The scene with Connie Britton as the Dean is a good example--she just spouts reprehensible cliches without any apparent self-awareness; Cassandra scoffs, we scoff, the Dean gets her dramatic comeuppance, and we move on, but while the scene translates aspects of the discourse into dialogue form, nothing about it feels like a conversation two real people might have in 2020. Other scenes are more insightful -- Ryan's character arc drives home something about the way that learning to say the right things and real character often diverge -- but something's always being driven home. That the movie is still as enjoyable as it is says much about Fennell's ability to arrange a set piece (of which there are several spectacular ones here) and maintain momentum, and about Carey Mulligan's absolute command of the screen.