“Promising Young Woman”: The Revenge Thriller Produced by Margot Robbie and Starring Carey Mulligan

Photo Courtesy: Focus Features

I don’t want to give too much away about Promising Young Woman’s plot, in case you haven’t watched the five-time Oscar nominee yet. This feminist revenge thriller, which has hints of dark comedy and even some romantic comedy elements, is available to rent on video on demand.

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell — more on her in a bit — and starring Carey Mulligan (An Education), Promising Young Woman tells the story of Cassie (Mulligan). She was a very promising young woman and medical student until a tragic event derailed her plans. She ends up on a revenge path, leading a double life by night. She goes to bars and dance clubs alone, pretending to be extremely intoxicated. Let’s say she’s running a sort of pedagogical scheme aimed at male predators.

"It’s really a film about the kind of culture that I grew up in and the culture that every girl I know grew up in," explained Fennell in a joint Zoom press conference with Mulligan about the film’s stance.

The movie deals with issues of sexual assault and accountability, on account of the survivors. "How can you find resolution? How can you find justice? When it’s such an uphill struggle that it’s still much easier to just let it go?" Fennell said, adding that the film is about how revenge is sort of impossible and, in the end, even futile. "The thing that is brilliant about Cassie — and it’s amazing about Carey’s performance — is that she is violent. But the violence that she commits, the maiming that she does, is completely psychological."

Content Warning: In discussing Promising Young Woman, this article contains mentions of sexual assault. If you or someone you know have been sexually assaulted and are in need of support, contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.