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Promising Young Woman (2020)

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7 minutes ago, pigs-in-space said:

The trailer just dropped and I'm intrigued. I'm loving the background music.

Yes I saw this on Instagram. Looks like an amazing role for Carey Mulligan. 

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I saw this trailer last night and am excited about it.  I feel like the premise is reductive, but there cannot be enough female revenge movies especially ones both written and directed by a woman.  

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Cautiously optimistic about this one! Good buzz at Sundance so far, and strong rating on Rotten Tomatoes (I don't usually take RT seriously, but I will make a rare exception). And the trailer is a thing of beauty. Carey Mulligan playing against type? Timely theme? Written and directed by a woman ( the fabulous Emerald Fennell)? Badass supporting cast including Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Bo Burnham, and Adam Brody, just to name a few? If nothing else, the trailer deserves some kind of an award!

Please, please, please don't let me down, movie...

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19 hours ago, Dancingjaneway said:

I read an interesting twitter thread from someone who saw the movie at Sundance. It sounds like the movie is not going to be what people expected or wanted: SPOILERS AHEAD

Thank you. I will not be going to see that clusterfuck. Carey Mulligan, I am so disappointed in you!

I just watched the trailer, knowing what the spoiler is and MAN is that misleading. I feel bad for people who go in there expecting what the trailer promises and getting what the movie really is. 

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21 hours ago, Dancingjaneway said:

I read an interesting twitter thread from someone who saw the movie at Sundance. It sounds like the movie is not going to be what people expected or wanted: SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Thank you for this. I shared it on another board, and a woman thanked me for it. She's going to warn her PTSD support group, because some of the women wanted to see this.

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2 hours ago, Wiendish Fitch said:

This WAS written by a woman, right??!!

 

Sadly, yes it was. It's not surprising that they made the trailers look a certain way & used the music they did. They didn't want people to see this movie for what it truly is. Misogynistic junk. I'm really hoping word gets around about this movie because I feel like this is the type of situation where it creates a domino effect and all female revenge films turn to shit like this. 

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It wouldn't piss me off so much if

she didn't get murdered in order to out the rapist. WTF Joaquin the joker can get revenge and live to dance on cars and be glorified as an antihero, but Carey has to die horribly?! FUCK THAT.

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I just think narratives in which

Spoiler

a character exacts revenge posthumously are kind of flawed, because it's too chancy. If the plan falls apart, then that means they died for nothing (plus, they're not around to do damage control), but if it goes off beautifully without a hitch... well, who cares? They're dead! They're not even alive to enjoy the well-earned carnage! So it's not rewarding to me, it falls emotionally flat. If a character (regardless of where they are on the good/evil spectrum) is on a quest for vengeance, and we the audience are supposed to root for them, I want said character to be cackling with triumph (be it at the climax or the end). If they croak before the plan truly succeeds, then what was the point?

 

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I still plan to see this, although I appreciate the conversation it's sparking. I think this review might be on the nose:

Quote

With so much ambition in “Promising Young Woman,” it feels like the movie wants to have its cake and eat it, too. Not every narrative turn feels germane to the story — some appear to be there simply because they’re unexpected.

There's one thing that twitter thread doesn't bring up which was in the screenplay (again, have only read it, haven't seen the movie, so I have no idea if this was kept although my gut says they wouldn't have cut it). Major spoilers plus trigger warning for sexual assault in addition to all those in the original twitter thread.

Spoiler

According to the script Cassie finds out from Alison Brie's character that there was a video of her friend's rape that was passed around, and she gives Cassie a copy. Cassie watches it and it shows multiple witnesses watching the rape at the party, including Bo Burnham's character, whom she is dating. That's the spark that leads to the nuclear option where, in the event of her death, a video of the rape as well as details of her own murder are shared with everyone at the wedding. While she seems aware that her death is possible, it's left ambiguous as to whether it's her ultimate plan or just a contingency.

Again some of this might be tweaked slightly from the script or played different on screen. I've searched for more specific spoilers but couldn't find any beyond that Twitter thread unfortunately.

 

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Yeah, I probably will still go see it too. Although now that I'm prepared for what's coming, at least I'll know when to cover my eyes.

I've already been let down by so many endings, what's one more?

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This was originally supposed to be released tomorrow, but I'm guessing it's been delayed as the Focus Features website now just says "Coming Soon." I was hoping they might do VOD but apparently not. 

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3 hours ago, pigs-in-space said:

This was originally supposed to be released tomorrow, but I'm guessing it's been delayed as the Focus Features website now just says "Coming Soon." I was hoping they might do VOD but apparently not. 

I don't know. They haven't said anything, no news about it even being postponed. Maybe they'll surprise us and put it on VOD tomorrow.

Even knowing what I know about the end I'd still want to rent it. Yeah I'm THAT desperate for new movies.

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I thought this was excellent. Probably my favourite film of the year thus far (the Twitter thread linked in comments from a year ago seriously misinterprets the film, in my opinion).

The only scene I thought didn't really work was, ironically, the scene with Alfred Molina's repentant lawyer.  Compared to the excellent depictions of self-justifying guys elsewhere in the film, I didn't find the way that Molina's change of heart was written to be compelling.

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I just saw this.  I thought it was a good movie.  Awfully dark though.  I'm good with drama and dark, but this was just a tad too much for me, Glad I saw it, though.

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I saw it without being spoiled and just hated it. What was the point? She could have circulated the video without getting herself killed. Sent it to Al's fiancee, the relevant medical boards, and the university's administration. Reached out to every national newspaper and tried to get one of them to run the story. Become an advocate/counselor for victims. Even Nina's mother begged her to move on; I'm sure the poor woman couldn't stand the thought of both Nina's and Cassie's lives ruined. And Cassie's own parents obviously loved her very much and were desperately trying to get through to her. 

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53 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

I saw it without being spoiled and just hated it. What was the point? She could have circulated the video without getting herself killed.

I wasn't spoiled, either.

I think she didn't really care whether she lived or died, especially after the one thing that was bringing her joy didn't bring her joy after all.  I think she was leaving it up to fate.  And by dying, she heaped more revenge on that guy.

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This movie had one of the funniest exchanges I've seen in a long time.  Carey Mulligan brings her pediatric surgeon boyfriend home for dinner, and one of her parents says to him, "Your parents must be so proud."  And he replies, "Actually, they wanted me to be a DJ."  I about died.

 

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On 1/10/2021 at 9:01 PM, chocolatine said:

I saw it without being spoiled and just hated it. What was the point? She could have circulated the video without getting herself killed. Sent it to Al's fiancee, the relevant medical boards, and the university's administration. Reached out to every national newspaper and tried to get one of them to run the story. Become an advocate/counselor for victims. Even Nina's mother begged her to move on; I'm sure the poor woman couldn't stand the thought of both Nina's and Cassie's lives ruined. And Cassie's own parents obviously loved her very much and were desperately trying to get through to her. 

Cassie was severely depressed.

But she wasn't deliberately intending to die, I don't believe -- she just knew that was a possibility and had a fallback plan.

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Rented it tonight.

*deep breath*

I get what Emerald Fennell was trying to do. I really, really do. And the cast was great; Carey Mulligan fucking slayed it.

But JFC. There was zero catharsis in this movie. The opening scenes of her baiting and trapping those guys was brilliant, but we were led to believe she was going to do something terrible and instead she just basically lets them off with a warning?! WTF? The whole scaring them straight doesn’t work without any follow through. Compared to her mind-fucking with the dean and her former friend, they got off kind of easy.

On 1/10/2021 at 8:01 PM, chocolatine said:

I saw it without being spoiled and just hated it. What was the point? She could have circulated the video without getting herself killed. Sent it to Al's fiancee, the relevant medical boards, and the university's administration. Reached out to every national newspaper and tried to get one of them to run the story. Become an advocate/counselor for victims. Even Nina's mother begged her to move on; I'm sure the poor woman couldn't stand the thought of both Nina's and Cassie's lives ruined. And Cassie's own parents obviously loved her very much and were desperately trying to get through to her. 

All this. And the death scene was so horrible. I wound up plugging my ears and closing my eyes through most of it because her muffled screaming made me want to vomit.

I mean the final revenge was great but again no joy or satisfaction or catharsis. Nina and Cassie were still dead, their families were ruined.

I will say that when Cassie told Al how his name followed Nina everywhere she went and nobody remembered hers, I thought about Chanel Miller (no I will not utter that rapist’s name).

We were promised a revenge movie and instead we got a tragedy. Someone summed it up best when they said the movie subverts sexist tropes only to fulfill them anyway.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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On 1/4/2021 at 6:58 PM, SeanC said:

The only scene I thought didn't really work was, ironically, the scene with Alfred Molina's repentant lawyer.  Compared to the excellent depictions of self-justifying guys elsewhere in the film, I didn't find the way that Molina's change of heart was written to be compelling.

I actually liked that part of the movie, because Alfred Molina did it so well for such a small part. He was one of the only people on Cassie’s hit list that actually felt genuine remorse and self-disgust over his role in what happened to Nina. Cassie was clearly at a loss when she finally found someone who acknowledged their wrongdoings and was clearly torn up about it; part of her rage was was how the rapist and all his enablers were all able to move on and live well like nothing ever happened. The car smashing scene showed that she was already feeling some self-disgust over what she was doing, and seeing the lawyer such a mess was a turning point for her so she couldn’t go through with her plans for him. In a way the greater punishment was to let him live with what he’d done. And maybe that’s why she gives him all the info before that final trip to the bachelor party: she was giving him a chance to put his money where his mouth was and make amends.

Ryan similarly had a chance for redemption when the cops questioned him. He knew something had happened, but kept his mouth shut to save his own ass.

Actually, the Ryan subplot was one of the better parts of the movie. Emerald Fennell deliberately set the romcom trap, duping us into thinking “here comes an actual decent guy that will save Cassie from herself”. And in hindsight there were plenty of red flags about Ryan, starting with the way he persisted in asking her out when she was clearly not interested, and then tried the whole “oh what a coincidence here’s my apartment” on their date. It showed that no matter how jaded Cassie was, she like the rest of us has a blind spot for Nice Guys. And when she found out what he did, it was devastating. She finally opens up to someone, only to find out that he was no different the other assholes she’s met. I get why that was the final straw for her.

If she hadn’t seen the video, she could have lived happily ever after with Ryan without ever finding out the truth. And that disturbed me almost as much as her murder.

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9 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Actually, the Ryan subplot was one of the better parts of the movie. Emerald Fennell deliberately set the romcom trap, duping us into thinking “here comes an actual decent guy that will save Cassie from herself”. And in hindsight there were plenty of red flags about Ryan, starting with the way he persisted in asking her out when she was clearly not interested, and then tried the whole “oh what a coincidence here’s my apartment” on their date. It showed that no matter how jaded Cassie was, she like the rest of us has a blind spot for Nice Guys. And when she found out what he did, it was devastating. She finally opens up to someone, only to find out that he was no different the other assholes she’s met. I get why that was the final straw for her.

Another red flag with Ryan was that odd exchange he had with Cassie's boss.  She asked, "Have you ever killed any children?" while operating on them, and Ryan responded, "No, though some have passed away."  As if his own actions had no impact on whether any of the children in his care lived or died.  He seemed rather nonchalant about the idea of children dying either way.

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His constant joking reminded me unpleasantly of a certain character from a different show who used humor to cover for the fact that he was a insecure little man child. The only difference was Ryan actually had a career.@Wiendish Fitch I think you know who I’m thinking of. 😉

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On 1/17/2021 at 4:41 PM, Brn2bwild said:

Another red flag with Ryan was that odd exchange he had with Cassie's boss.  She asked, "Have you ever killed any children?" while operating on them, and Ryan responded, "No, though some have passed away."  As if his own actions had no impact on whether any of the children in his care lived or died.  He seemed rather nonchalant about the idea of children dying either way.

I don't know that "nonchalant" is the word I'd use, but I'm pretty sure surgeons have to figure out a way to deal with the inevitable deaths that happen at their hands.  And I thought this was more of a setup to the joking between him and Cassie's boss, where after this exchange she said she was going to keep at  him until he admitted he killed children, or something along those lines.

For those interested in the ending, here's an article where the director discusses it:

https://variety.com/2021/film/news/promising-young-woman-ending-spoilers-2-1234885400/

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I’ve read all the Emerald Fennell and Carey Mulligan interviews about the ending, and I do get it. I get why Emerald felt she needed the ending to be “realistic”, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Was Cassie putting herself in danger (albeit with a backup plan) the only way to get justice for Nina? Being cavalier about her safety isn’t the same thing as having a death wish, no matter how broken and damaged she was. Those last few minutes of her life didn’t show Cassie secretly happy that Al would go down for murder, she was terrified and fighting for her life. I wonder if even a part of her was worried that even the backup plan might fail (no guarantee Jordan would have given the evidence to the cops, even if he was remorseful). And then Cassie would have died for nothing.

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Finally watched this and even though I knew how it would end I still ended up crying. I liked it a lot even though the ending was terribly sad. My favorite scene was her confronting Ryan about the video - I found it totally chilling.

I think this movie was less about revenge and more about what happens when you are so paralyzed by grief and anger that you are unable to move on. Cassie knew she was putting herself in danger (hell, even sober she was putting herself in danger every night she targeted “nice guys”), and she had the video. She didn’t have to get revenge up close and personal like that but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. 

I did notice that they cut one thing from the script, which was 

Spoiler

Cassie interviewing for the corporate job and one of the interviewers being a man she had previously done her drunk nice guy routine on. I believe it was sandwiched before she sees the video, and basically gave her another reason to feel nothing would ever change and she might as well continue on her revenge quest.

 

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The HFPA clearly loved it — Picture, Director, Actress and Screenplay nominations.

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Golden Globe nominations!

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA

BEST DIRECTOR - Emerald Fennell

BEST ACTRESS – DRAMA - Carey Mulligan

BEST SCREENPLAY - Emerald Fennell

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I hated this. I tried, really, and I made all the allowances I feel were fair, but I don't think it was worthy of its subject. It seemed like a first-time filmmaker leaning way too hard on her (good) cast to give the characters the dimensions she had not, and being really muddled in her messaging. I hope it wins nothing, and the best I can say is that maybe it will be a growing experience and Ms. Fennell's second, third, fourth films will really be something.  

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Critics' Choice Award nominations!

Best Picture

Best Director - Emerald Fennell

Best Actress - Carey Mulligan

Best Original Screenplay - Emerald Fennell

Best Costume Design - Nancy Steiner

Best Hair and Makeup

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On my second viewing, the most implausible thing is that social media website that Cassie uses having a like two-click method for deleting your account.

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Producers Guild of America nomination!

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
Producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Monica Levinson, Anthony Hines

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros)
Producers: Charles D. King, Ryan Coogler, Shaka King

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
Producers: Denzel Washington, Todd Black

“Mank” (Netflix)
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth, Douglas Urbanski

“Minari” (A24)
Producer: Christina Oh

“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
Producers: Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
Producers: Josey McNamara, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Producers: Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
Producers: Marc Platt, Stuart Besser

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