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Promising Young Woman


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๐ŸŽ™️ EPISODE 328: 02.23.2021

Between this and the excellent The Kid Detective, 2020 definitely seems like the year that filmmakers really started to explore the twisting and melting of genre, form and, mosts strikingly, TONE, in what are otherwise, by all appearances, 'mainstream movies'. Whereas, previously, this might have been earmarked as a critical flaw if not evidence of a full-on failure, it kind of feels right in these dystopian times; if I can't figure out what to believe day in, day out, then it makes sense that the movies should be exploring that confusion in interesting and enlightening ways. Promising Young Woman, another stunning writer-director debut, this time by English actress Emerald Fennell, really ups the ante. At times a demented revenge thriller, and others a total romcom satirical farce that borders on spoof (I'm looking at you, Paris Hilton montage).
While it's not necessarily LoL-funny, I think you have to qualify it as a black comedy. Standup comic turned actor/filmmaker Bo Burnham is the loose anchor throughout, providing levity and escape from the dark waters that the film wants to explore... until he isn't. I won't give away the final twist (or the final final twist, or the final final final twist) other than to say that they're all strokes of genius in the most classic sense. For all the destroyed conventions and genre mashing, the end result plays like a Hitchcock film and is equally rewarding.

You have to also appreciate Promising Young Woman for what it will do to a certain segment of the population's brains if they choose to watch it. You know who I'm talking about; it's not worth getting into. Therein lies the rub, though. Nobody wants a morality tale, especially not the people who desperately need one! And that's why and how this excels as a movie, because it is not strictly a #MeToo-era rape revenge film. I'm as woke as the next guy and I don't think I could stomach that. By making the heroine (the excellent Carey Mulligan) so over-the-top, it challenges the audience's expectations as to what they can assume, and what they think they want out of a lead like this.

If you're weary that this is the kind of critic-proof, just-edgy-enough content that seemingly became the norm somewhere late in the 2010s, I can assure that it's something more. Personally, I saw fewer films in 2020 than I had in any year of the previous ten or so. That, coupled with the imminent death of the theater-going experience, had me feeling bad about the future of the art form. But I'm finally starting to feel better about things. This is a high-9 and one of the year's best films, no question.

✏️ POSTED: 02.23.2021

CHRONOLOGICALLY
EPISODE 327 - (YOU ARE HERE) - EPISODE 329 ⫸

๐š‚๐šž๐š™๐š™๐š˜๐š›๐š ๐š–๐šŽ ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐š ๐šŽ๐š‹๐šœ๐š’๐š๐šŽ/๐š™๐š˜๐š๐šŒ๐šŠ๐šœ๐š ๐š˜๐š— ๐™ฟ๐šŠ๐š๐š›๐šŽ๐š˜๐š— ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐šŠ๐šœ ๐š•๐š˜๐š  ๐šŠ๐šœ $๐Ÿท ๐šŠ ๐š–๐š˜๐š—๐š๐š‘!

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