Promising Young Woman review: Carey Mulligan shines in Emerald Fennell's outstanding movie

Promising Young Woman stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie'.

Promising Young Woman stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie'. - Credit: © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

Ahead of cinemas reopening, Paul Steward reviews Promising Young Woman, which won best original screenplay at this year's Oscars and is currently available to watch on Sky Cinema.

Promising Young Woman can be seen on Sky Cinema.

Promising Young Woman can be seen on Sky Cinema. - Credit: © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.


Winner of the best original screenplay Oscar at this year's Academy Awards, and featuring a career-best performance from Carey Mulligan, Emerald Fennell's searing feature debut shines a light on gender politics like never before.

Mulligan stars as Cassie, an emotionally scarred medical school drop out, living a secret double life.

Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie' in Promising Young Woman.

Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie' in Promising Young Woman. - Credit: Focus Features © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

By day she waits tables at a cheap coffee shop, but by night she frequents nightclubs and bars on the lookout for nocturnal predators.

Dressed to kill, Cassie pretends to be helplessly drunk and vulnerable in order to attract the immoral men of Ohio and turn the tables on them.

Carey Mulligan stars in Promising Young Woman.

Carey Mulligan stars in Promising Young Woman. - Credit: © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

When Ryan, a caring former classmate, re-enters her life, Cassie is torn between continuing with her mission or committing to the possibility of a happier new life.

With a bright bubblegum pallet, which deliberately contradicts the film's dark themes, and a soundtrack packed with alternative takes on pop hits, the film stands out from the start.

You can see Oscar winner Emerald Fennell's incredible debut Promising Young Woman on Sky Cinema.

You can see Oscar winner Emerald Fennell's incredible debut Promising Young Woman on Sky Cinema. - Credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace. © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

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The razor-sharp script from Fennell, best known for playing Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown, is completely deserving of the accolades bestowed upon it.

Full of wit and snappy dialogue, the debut filmmaker brilliantly blends the film's serious subject matter with a vein of dark humour to create a completely unique piece of work.

Comedian Bo Burnham takes on the supporting role of Ryan, and his comedy chops shine through in his interactions with Cassie.

Bo Burnham stars as Ryan and Carey Mulligan as Cassie in Promising Young Woman.

Bo Burnham stars as Ryan and Carey Mulligan as Cassie in Promising Young Woman. - Credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace. © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

The pair's chemistry is one of the main reasons the humour works so well.

Mulligan herself has never been better.

Her lead performance carries the film and is both empowering and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie'.

Carey Mulligan as ‘Cassie'. - Credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace. © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC.

The reason for her medical school drop out is kept vague until the film's conclusion, but her inner pain which fuels her rage and subsequent revenge mission is raw and visible throughout.

The film will rightly raise awareness of sexual assault, and the unpredictable nature of the plot makes it a completely gripping watch.

To tackle a subject as important as this in your debut is a bold move for a young filmmaker, but Fennell has fearlessly delivered a whip-smart tale of twisted retribution.

Promising Young Woman is the year's first must watch and as outstanding a debut as you’re likely to see.
 

Promising Young Woman stars Carey Mulligan.

Promising Young Woman stars Carey Mulligan. - Credit: © 2019 PROMISING WOMAN, LLC


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