Promising Young Woman presents the exceptional and engrossing story of a woman who enacts revenge on people who had been involved in an incident of sexual assault in previous years. The film is directed by Emerald Fennell and stars Carey Mulligan and Bo Burnham as the main characters. It is no wonder that Promising Young Woman won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay: the story is shocking, suspenseful, and unfolds in a way that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats.
The film hinges around issues of responsibility, consent, feminism, but it has as its underlying root a true, deep, and supporting friendship between two young women, indeed, full of promise, Cassie and Nina. Nina, who met with an untimely and unjust end, is present throughout the movie, despite not appearing in it: she lives in the words and actions of Cassie, who will exact merciless revenge with a deep sense of justice for herself, Nina, and all those millions of women taken advantage of, disrespected and mistreated. Warning: this film is suitable for ages 16 and above due to coarse language, violence, drug use, and sexual assault.
Protagonist Cassandra Thomas spends her nights pretending to be intoxicated in order to teach a lesson to men who claim to be ‘nice guys’ but are quick to commit non-consensual sexual acts when protected by the woman’s lack of self-awareness. However, a ‘simple storyline’ like this belies the deep secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the film. As it gradually becomes clear, the reason for Cassie to behave in such a manner is the loss of her dearest friend Nina, who committed suicide after an incident of sexual assault involving male undergraduate students. In fact, Cassie and Nina were not only close friends but also university medical students, and Nina, in particular, was top of her class. As it turns out, the promising young woman of the title is not only Cassie but also, or maybe mainly, Nina herself.