A sobering thought

Promising Young Woman (12, 114 minutes)

Entrenched possibly a little too deep in the #MeToo movement, this feature debut for English writer-director Emerald Fennell is part revenge thriller, part dark comedy in which Cassie, a med school dropout (Carey Mulligan) lives a double life, serving coffee by day and at night trawling the clubs pretending to be falling down drunk as an endless line of men attempt to take advantage of her stupor – only to find themselves put on the spot when the semi conscious lush is suddenly replaced by a stone cold sober accuser.

Meanwhile, she still lives with her long suffering parents, played by Clancy Brown and the wonderful Jennifer Coolidge whose idea of dropping a hint is to buy their daughter a suitacse for her 30th birthday.

The reason for Cassie’s vendetta seems obvious but eventually becomes more clear as victims change from random men to figures from her past who had failed to act following the traumatic incident which had prompted her to walk away from her studies.

Meanwhile, the reappearance of a genuinely decent guy in her life (Adam Brody) provides some hope for a normal, happy life.

But nothing is as it seems here and the film is never allowed to settle into one specific genre – humour turns to shock to optimism then sadness and beyond.

The first hour certainly won’t be a comfortable watch for many blokes out there and the overriding message appears to be that 99 per cent of us turn into sex predators when the opportunity presents itself – a premise which can become a little tedious.

But with a dearth of choice, an unexpected denouement and Mulligan’s finest performance to date, this could well see itself in line for awards in the next few weeks.

RATING: 7/10


Mick Ferris

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