Worst thing you'll see since the Kavanaugh hearings: Promising Young Woman

Title Worst thing you'll see since the Kavanaugh hearings: Promising Young Woman
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Movie reviews
When January 15, 2021

The premise of Emerald Fennell's #MeToo era power fantasy is that all men are rapers.  Hardly a provocative statement these days, and certainly one women have earned the right to indulge.  But Promising Young Woman isn't done yet..

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Huh. That sounds like the worst parts of The Life of David Gale mixed with the worst parts of The Signs. Both are execrable films. Hard pass, even though I’m ideologically sympathetic.

At least it isn’t as embarrassingly bad as Sophia Takal’s Black Christmas, which takes a similarly facile approach to its indictment of rape culture (the rapers in Black Christmas don’t even need their positions of power and privilege, because they have magical black goo).

Blech. Way to remind me of this terribleness. Gawd, the latest Black Christmas was sooooooo bad.

I’m just going to let that sit there for a bit while you think about what you’ve done.


EDIT: Actually, on second thought, I’d just as soon head this off at the pass. Based on past comments you’ve made, I don’t see this going anywhere worthwhile.

Ha ha, you saw Black Christmas. How about that epic battle scene at the end? One chick is wielding a whole sled as a weapon!


The worst was when they did the same “I told ya so!” joke twice during that battle.

My take is that the film at its core reinforces the date-rape he-said-only mentality without ever really solving for it; instead a person whose life basically ended years ago is careening towards a physical end, gets interrupted for a short time, and gets some revenge… I guess? I don’t think this movie is horrible, but I was expecting… something a bit more hopeful or at the very least, a kind of closure in some form or fashion, but as we often hear, closure doesn’t exist in reality.

— Alan

The movie (or guessing by the trailer at least) stings. But that’s life, isn’t it? Why single out THIS movie for criticism?

That’s a good way to put it, and far more charitable than me just kind of pointing and laughing. But I guess what bothers me most is wrapping this take in a conveniently pat revenge thriller. It’s not thrilling because it’s such a weak series of set-ups and comeuppances, especially at the end. Because I think the end does want to represent itself as closure. It does want to put a bow on the incident with Nina. But it’s a really lame bow.

Where Promising Young Woman really started to lose me was the scene with Connie Briton. I mean, it was fun seeing Carey Mulligan pwn douchebags. But that Connie Briton scene is sooo clunky for how it wants to point out that ladies are implicated as well, and there are huge and entrenched power structures with a vested interest in ignoring rape culture. I mean, yes…and? The solution is to scare the administrators and then shame them by telling them what they did was wrong? Ugh.

There’s a scene at the end of The Nightingale that took the same approach. But it was handled so much better for being inconclusive. And, of course, it was in The Nightingale, which helped.


I’d be happy to talk about it if you watch the movie. Until then, I will refer you to what I wrote in the review. :)


That’s a shame to hear. Really enjoyed the trailer. I’ll probably still check it out to enjoy a good Carey Mulligan performance, but thanks for tempering my expectations.

So they remade Black Christmas into Night Trap?

I enjoyed it more than you, Tom, but I agree that something about act 3 didn’t really work. Gutsy writing and it felt right for her character’s dark, inevitable fate but all the rest seemed artificial and unsatisfying. I agree that Bo Burnham was really good in this but too many other characters were just in and out for one scene. But it had enough going for it in the performances and style that I want to watch it again with my wife.

I watched The Assistant the day after I saw PYW… Similar subject matter and I’d recommend them both but if this film was a bit much, that film was a bit not-enough.

Just finished watching it. The movie has some great scenes! It captures the revenge aspects really well. But I don’t think it all ties together as a complete movie. The beginning especially is kind of aimless. The intensity of the best scenes is not maintained throughout the whole movie. A lot of scenes flop. I wouldn’t give the movie an Oscar, though I really would have liked to have! I don’t watch a lot of movies so I don’t know what to compare it to.

I don’t get Tom’s review at all. Did we watch a different movie? It’s simple revenge fantasy. I don’t think it’s trying to philosophize.


Oh, and without Carey Mulligan really selling it the movie would probably be pretty bad.

And four Golden Globe nominations, including for best picture, best screenplay, and best director. Yeesh.


I watched and enjoyed this one as a revenge movie. See also Hard Candy.

I just watched this movie and thought it was great. It is one that will stay with me for days. Checked some reviews and most thought it was very good.

OK, I watched this a couple of nights ago even though I’m the first comment here with a “hard pass”. Carey Mulligan is an irresistible draw, what can I say? Apparently Fennell’s original idea for the film was to roll credits at the bonfire, which would have been more honest and powerful. As it is, they really need a coda where all the douchebags get off scot-free because of self-defense pleas, helped by Cassie’s previous behavior kidnapping, extorting and drugging people.

Right? I mean who watches the movie and doesn’t think that’s exactly what’s going to happen? I can understand appreciating Promising Young Woman for its performances, its style, and especially its intent. But what an aggressively dumb script.


I suppose you guys also think Thelma & Louise crash and die when in fact they actually soar free forever.