I was gifted a copy of Promising Young Woman to review. All opinions are my own.
TRIGGER WARNING: This movie could be a possible trigger warning for rape or sexual abuse survivors, even though the movie does not show the rape.
From visionary director, Emerald Fennell, comes a delicious new take on revenge. Everyone said Cassie was a promising young woman…until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be. She’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of her past in this thrilling and wildly entertaining story. Promising Young Woman is available for rent or purchase On-Demand.
***MILD SPOILERS/TRIGGER WARNING BELOW***
If it weren’t for COVID, I would say grab your best girlfriend and have a movie night because this is a must-see girls night movie. Cassie’s best friend was her other half. We often talk about soul mates in reference to our partners but if you are lucky enough to have a true best girlfriend, they are the ones that you laugh, cry, and grow with in a way that isn’t comparable to your spouse.
If someone hurts your best friend, they hurt you. Cassie’s best friend was raped and the aftermath led to her suicide. The guilt of not attending the party where it happened haunted Cassie and ultimately caused ripples throughout her ability to attend school, keep a job, and build relationships. She has made it her cause to stop others from raping people.
This movie really takes an intelligent look on rape and actually cast actors who traditionally play the good guy…looking at you Adam Brody, to showcase that it isn’t always a dark, scary man who will drag you behind a dumpster and that you can’t visibly look at a man and know that they are possibly someone who will rape you.
Cassie ultimately seeks to get revenge on those who didn’t participate, but are complicit for their silence, their justifications, their refusal to intervene — the administration who isn’t always quick to believe women, the lawyer who got the case dropped, and part goers so that no one will forget what happened to her friend, and hopefully make better choices if the situation was to arise with someone that was closer to them as well as the rapist himself.
Considering the theme of this movie revolves around rape and revenge, this movie is insanely smart and very funny in a dark manner. The thing that really stuck with me is that we all know a girl that could have been Cassie’s friend, someone who drank too much and found themselves in a bad situation and was just expected to shrug it off chanting “boys will be boys.” I hope that the takeaway is that we hold others responsible and stop victim-blaming.
Consent is such an overdue conversation and a major piece missing in sexual education in schools. This is very much an adult movie but is something that you could watch with older teens, both girls and boys. It is a film that could make it easier to have the conversation about sexual assault, consent with teens, and what to do if they found themselves in a similar situation. There is drinking in bars that you think might lead to a rape, but doesn’t, and some mild violence.
The overall theme is really about our personal judgements and accountability in situations around sexual assault.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service is available 24/7: 1-833-456-4566. Services for rape survivors vary based on province or state.
Promising Young Woman is now available to own on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD.