Emerald Fennell’s stunning debut Promising Young Woman arrived on Blu-ray this week. Nominated for five Academy Awards, Fennell’s critically acclaimed film has become one of the most talked about films of the year.
Taking aim at toxic masculinity and the societal structures that cultivate them, the film shows it is never too late to seek justice once denied. The avenging angel of Fennell’s deliciously layered tale is Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a young woman who had a promising medical career, but now works at a coffee shop run by Gail (Laverne Cox). What caused this shift in career is not clear at first, but it has left her in a seemingly uninspired rut. At least that is what it looks like to her parents who think it is time for their daughter to finally leave the nest for good. What her folks and others do not realize is that Cassandra could jump start her life if she really wanted to, but she has more important work to do once the sun goes down.
At night Cassandra can be found seemingly wasted at a local night club, barely able to keep her eyes open and stumbling around looking for her phone. Her inebriated state is like blood in the water for sharks seeking easy prey. Fortunately, there are “nice guys” like Jerry (Adam Brody) willing to step up and ensure she gets home safely. However, as he quickly finds out when attempting to take advantage of her, one should never judge a book by its cover. Turning the tables on men like Jerry, it is a Cassandra who reveals herself to be the real hunter.
In observing Cassandra unleashing her special brand of fury on unsuspecting men and women, including those from her past, Promising Young Woman constructs a tale that is equally darkly funny and disturbing. The film effortlessly drifts from biting social commentary to psychological horror to something emotionally resonating. Fennell’s tale may present itself as a tale of revenge, but it is ultimately a story about grief and survivor’s guilt. Utilizing the power of perception to maximum effect, Fennell’s film does an exceptional job of making one feel just as uncomfortable as Cassandra’s victims.
The Blu-ray comes with three featurettes that take viewers deeper into the film. “A Promising Vision” finds Fennell discussing what influenced her to approach the film in the manner she did. Another intriguing feature is “Two-Sided Transformation” which explores how costume and makeup helped to shape Mulligan’s brilliant turn as Cassandra. A genre-bending film that you will be discussing long after the final credits roll, Promising Young Woman is a film you will want to add to your collection.
Bonus Features: A Promising Vision, Two-Sided Transformation, Balancing Act, Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Emerald Fennell