The Qwipster Film Review Podcast

Promising Young Woman (2020) | Emerald Fennell

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Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan) lives with her parents in Ohio while working in a dead-end job at thirty years old, a barista in a small coffee shop. Her parents have been encouraging her to get on with her life in ways that aren’t even subtle. Their latest birthday gift: a suitcase.

Cassie spends her evenings at the local watering holes to the point where she’s in an obvious stupor. Inevitably, someone will offer to do the right thing and give her a ride home. However, temptation gets the better of them and they’ll tell the cab driver to take her to their home instead. There, they reveal themselves as not so good and she’ll reveal herself to be not so drunk, shaming them for essentially trying to rape a woman who is too intoxicated to truly give consent.

At work, Cassie has a run-in with Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham), a former colleague from medical school now working as a pediatrician. Here we pick up clues learning about how she was once on a fast-track to becoming a doctor, but she dropped out for mysterious reasons involving her best friend Nina Fisher, the victim of a sexual assault that never got justice – until Cassie made it her mission to stop predators in their tracks. Ryan seems different, cracking through Cassie’s tough exterior, offering a bright future. However, when she learns that the person most responsible for Nina’s rape is nearby and about to get married, she has to decide which path she should go down, the path of promise or the path of vengeance on everyone who done them wrong, including the seemingly indifferent school educators and lawyers who downplayed the allegations.

Emerald Fennell writes and directs.

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