Promising Young Woman

Promising Young Woman ★★★½

Seeing this film again (let alone in a drive-in) after only seeing a test screening cut of it almost 2 years ago was a strange experience. I can say it was definitely more enjoyable this time around, but some of the shabby editing editing and temp needle drops (fun fact: they used the original version of “Toxic” for that great 3rd act opener before switching to the creepy violin cover) didn’t really deter my original experience. In fact, most of my reservations with the film were still in this version.

Much of the time it feels like a wonky mash up of two different films. One is a darkly tongue in cheek exploitation comedy with Mulligan as a vengeful bad ass akin to The Bride in Kill Bill. She even has a hit list in portions of the movie that directly mirrors Thurman’s vengeful planning.

The other is a more serious examination of the themes being explored. These would be things like the exploitation of women, the danger of “nice guys”, the hypocrisy of a system that “believes women”, etc. Either of these one films would’ve made a good movie on their own, but Fennell seems to be reaching for the stars and jam as much as she can in this one film that attempts to sum up the “Me Too” moment fully. Then there’s a whole sub plot that with a pediatrician played by a very well cast Bo Burnham that turns it into a pseudo rom com for a while. That last act is still the best thing about this, but it takes a bit of messy plotting to get there. It all makes for messy, captivating viewing.

Maybe after so many movies genre films as of late strain hard but miss the mark, or maybe it’s just nice to see a decent movie on a big screen, but I liked it. It may not be the all encompassing “answer” to modern day misogyny that it seems to want to be. It’s even up for debate whether this is even an intelligent examination of the moment, but I like a film that at least tries to pierce this kind of discourse with this much personality. Plus, Carrie Mulligan BRINGS it. And who doesn’t love a good Night of the Hunter parallel.

[Double Feature 2/2: w/ Shadow in the Cloud]

listed on: Unique Cinematic Experiences

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