Each year, awards season features a film that causes a stir in the film industry. Whether it be through its topic of choice or fallout from critical and audience reactions, this particular film will go on to be spoken about quite prominently which is never a bad thing when going for awards. Promising Young Woman is the film in question this year and with the duo of Emerald Fennell and Carey Mulligan at the creative forefront of the film, it most definitely has something to say in the world today.

Nothing in Cassie's (Carey Mulligan) life is what it appears to be -- she's wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she's living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs from the past.

Opening with a rather disturbing sequence that showcases the double life Cassie leads during the night, Promising Young Woman instantly becomes a film you are drawn into. Who exactly is this woman? Why exactly is she putting herself in that sort of situation? Then comes an opening titles sequence that first made me take a quick gasp of air before raising a chuckle from me. It's a film with a dark heart but the twisted humour it possesses makes it one of the most wicked pieces of cinema this year.

The writing from Emerald Fennell is one of the film's biggest strengths, Cassie's past trauma a real catalyst towards her present day actions that make her such a force to be reckoned with as a character. Fennell manages to blur the line between a romantic comedy and revenge thriller that makes Promising Young Woman a film that makes you squirm in your seat because there's just no telling of where exactly it will go with each scene. Music plays a big part in throwing a few curveballs at the audience, Cassie and her boyfriend Ryan dancing to Paris Hilton's Stars Are Blind quite lovingly while on a romantic visit to the convenience store before a masterful reimagining of Britney Spears' Toxic from composer Anthony Willis accompanies a much more sinister moment in the film, contrasting each other quite brilliantly.

Leading the film with a quite sensational performance is Carey Mulligan, revenge on her mind and her determination to bring justice to her friend's memory bringing about a turn from Mulligan we've never quite seen before. The secret life that Cassie lives by at night makes her such an interesting character and Mulligan excels in almost a dual role, her range truly coming to the fore. Bo Burnham is an inspired piece of casting as Cassie's love interest Ryan, his funnyman routine going a long way in making him seem like the perfect man for her to live her life with however, there's always a bit of uncertainty surrounding him that is brought on due to the nature of the film.

Culminating with a sequence that I'm sure will divide audiences right down the middle, one that I found fitting to the film's themes and message, Promising Young Woman is sure to be one of the year's best films and one that should be spoken about for years to come. I may not be best placed for an opinion on how women are treated in the wider world however, with recent events in this country surrounding the safety of women, there is no time or place where women should feel unsafe.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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