PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN
By Kristina Innemee
If you ever wanted to witness a woman on a mission, this story is it. Without spoiling the movie completely, Promising Young Woman is a darkly humorous satire that deals with trauma and the divide between men and women. Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan, is on a mission to question as many men’s personal “moral codes” as she can. While anyone can convince themselves they’re not a bad person, her hobby becomes their nightmare. Merely taking the drunk girl home to have their way with her turns into the surprise of their life when the same girl is stone-cold sober. Her initial strategy is full proof, leaving men shaking in their boots without a shed of blood or violence. Yet, once her past life comes full circle and the people who hurt her childhood friend Nina are standing right in front of her successful and “happy”, her plans change ever so slightly, but the lessons are still the same.
Only a woman could teach so many people a lesson in the most innocent and abusive-less ways. Yet Cassie brings up a lot of anger and helpless emotions as she works through her trauma, sometimes making unfortunate decisions due to those traumas, and witnessing her constant battle to get Nina some sort of justice in a system where “it’s her word against his” is still very much a thing. We identify with her constantly, want to help her fight her battles and always hope that she comes out on top. Unfortunately, as we have all witnessed, again and again, this isn’t always the case.
Only a man could get away with so much and despite Cassie's lessons making a lot of sense, no one is really being charged with anything. Some moments can be infuriating as you sit through the compacted 2 hours and a 15-minute version of all of the annoyingly shitty things men do and say to women. The “I'm a good guy”, the “you shouldn’t get so drunk”, and the all time favourite, “he is a promising young man with a bright future, we can’t take that away from him.”The constant lack of defence for women is exhausting and it's no wonder Cassie is going through the lengths that she is to make her point. Promising Young Woman ended up being both an excellent yet surprisingly educational movie with some spins that keeps your hopes high and equally keeps you on your toes.
As for all of the women who sit and grind their teeth while following this movie, in the real world, it is a constant fight that we must continue to push through. The Me Too movement has been empowering for women all over the world, so much so that men have been stepping up and not only understanding the broad spectrum of what women truly go through but now speaking up against other men and their horrendous views on women. This is a beginning, yet with the extensive history of abuse towards women in what seems like every shape and form of our lives, it is not even close to over. But we can be hopeful.
In the end, you may think the icing on top of the messed-up cake is that men always win, which let's be honest most of the time they do, but the battle isn’t over until Cassie gets the last lesson. The most valuable lesson of all, a woman will go to great lengths to prove her point, even if she has to sacrifice herself in the end.